Margaret Mead

Academic

1901 – 1978

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Who was Margaret Mead?

Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist, who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the 1960s and 1970s. She earned her bachelor degree at Barnard College in New York City, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University.

She was both a popularizer of the insights of anthropology into modern American and Western culture and a respected, if controversial, academic anthropologist. Her reports about the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures amply informed the 1960s sexual revolution. Mead was a champion of broadened sexual mores within a context of traditional western religious life.

An Anglican Christian, she played a considerable part in the drafting of the 1979 American Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.

Famous Quotes:

  • A city is a place where there is no need to wait for next week to get the answer to a question, to taste the food of any country, to find new voices to listen to and familiar ones to listen to again.
  • Instead of needing lots of children, we need high-quality children.
  • The institution of marriage in all societies is a pattern within which the strains put by civilization on males and females alike must be resolved, a pattern within which men must learn, in return for a variety of elaborate rewards, new forms in which sexual spontaneity is still possible, and women must learn to discipline their receptivity to a thousand other considerations.
  • The prophet who fails to present a bearable alternative and yet preaches doom is part of the trap that he postulates. Not only does he picture us caught in a tremendous man-made or God-made trap from which there is no escape, but we must also listen to him day in, day out, describe how the trap is inexorably closing. To such prophecies the human race, as presently bred and educated and situated, is incapable of listening. So some dance and some immolate themselves as human torches; some take drugs and some artists spill their creativity in sets of randomly placed dots on a white ground.
  • If I were to be taken hostage, I would not plead for release nor would I want my government to be blackmailed. I think certain government officials, industrialists and celebrated persons should make it clear they are prepared to be sacrificed if taken hostage. If that were done, what gain would there be for terrorists in taking hostages?
  • The city as a center where, any day in any year, there may be a fresh encounter with a new talent, a keen mind or a gifted specialist -- this is essential to the life of a country. To play this role in our lives a city must have a soul -- a university, a great art or music school, a cathedral or a great mosque or temple, a great laboratory or scientific center, as well as the libraries and museums and galleries that bring past and present together. A city must be a place where groups of women and men are seeking and developing the highest things they know.
  • Women should be permitted to volunteer for non-combat service, they should not be accepted, voluntarily or through the draft, as combat soldiers. We know of no comparable ways of training women and girls, and we have no real way of knowing whether the kinds of training that teach men both courage and restraint would be adaptable to women or effective in a crisis. But the evidence of history and comparative studies of other species suggest that women as a fighting body might be far less amenable to the rules that prevent warfare from becoming a massacre and, with the use of modern weapons, that protect the survival of all humanity. This is what I meant by saying that women in combat might be too fierce.
  • Our treatment of both older people and children reflects the value we place on independence and autonomy. We do our best to make our children independent from birth. We leave them all alone in rooms with the lights out and tell them, Go to sleep by yourselves. And the old people we respect most are the ones who will fight for their independence, who would sooner starve to death than ask for help.
  • For the very first time the young are seeing history being made before it is censored by their elders.
  • People in America, of course, live in all sorts of fashions, because they are foreigners, or unlucky, or depraved, or without ambition; people live like that, but Americans live in white detached houses with green shutters. Rigidly, blindly, the dream takes precedence.

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Born
Dec 16, 1901
Philadelphia
Also known as
  • Dr. Margaret Mead
Parents
Siblings
Spouses
Children
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Education
  • Columbia University
  • Barnard College
  • DePauw University
Died
Nov 15, 1978
New York City

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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"Margaret Mead." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 26 Sep. 2022. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/margaret_mead>.

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