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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Hester Fakelore (116* d) RE: Fakelore 04 Feb 03


>>>Margaret Mead's "research" into Samoan culture now be considered fakelore?<<<

>>>According to my anthropology classes in the early 60's this was an example of a deliberate scientific fraud. There are many reasons for such...money, prestige, religious charlitanery, etc, but her reason seems to have been purely the furtherance of her personal socio-political notions. Also to further the myth (fakescience) of psychocultural science. She had a reputation for un-niceness in a number of ways. <<<

Hi, Abby:

In my Anthropology classes in the 80s and 90s, the faults of Mead's work were put in a different context: her relative naivity (she was only 24 when she went to Samoa); her eagerness to please her mentors, Boaz & Benedict; her informants' eagerness to please her; and her sincere wish to both dispel pejorative notions of "the primitive" and to provide a useful framework for understanding Western intergenerational strife.

Indeed, most of the "un-niceness" in the controversy was attributed by my [male] professors to her critic Derek Freeman, who waited 'til the old girl was dead before attacking her work.

For the most part, Mead's work was seen by my professors are no worse than that of most other scholars in her field at that time. Anthropology was still a very young discipline then, and the methodologies and analytical criteria were yet to be rigorously tested and questioned.

Cheers, Hester


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