Critical Analysis Of The Mead-Freeman Debate

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Nature versus Nurture Controversy: Critical Analysis of The Mead-Freeman Debate
Research Topic Outline
In 1983, Derek Freeman challenged Margaret Mead’s 1928 ethnographic work Coming of Age in Samoa, Freeman asserted that Mead’s conclusion of adolescent behavior conflicted with important facts within the social sciences. Freeman’s critique sparked an intense controversy in anthropology regarding the concept of nature versus nurture. Freeman claimed that Boasians’ insisted on separating cultural determinism (nurture) from biological determinism (nature). Thus, various academic writings emerged in support of one concept over the latter. Even though, most modern-day scholars support both cultural determinism and biological determinism in
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The articles range from claims for “bio-anthropology” to Mead protagonist who dispute the claims suggested by Freeman. Moreover, Caton’s work is a source for all publications relating to the Samoa controversy and the issues that were raised in anthropology as a result of it. Furthermore, Caton’s work provides a guideline for understanding the various works produced by scholars because of the controversy, and the impact these works as well as the primary works of Mead and Freeman had on anthropology, other disciplines, and public opinion.
Freeman, Derek
1983 Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Derek Freeman in his work Margaret Mead and Samoa: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth, discusses Margaret Mead’s fieldwork in Samoa in 1925 under the recommendation of her then professor Franz Boaz. Freeman maintains that the conclusion reached by Mead, that stresses associated with adolescence in the United States and other areas had cultural not biological causes, is wrong. Freeman’s work complies the evidence Freeman believes supports his claim that the conclusion reached by Mead was mistaken. Derek Freeman states that upon starting his field work in the islands of Western Samoa, he considered himself a cultural determinist. However, after two years within the field, he found that much of the work written by Mead in eastern
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