Socialization And Sexualization Of Margaret Mead's Ethnography Of The Samoan People?

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Margaret Mead’s ethnography of the Samoan people details many facets of culture and traditions that shape their society and contribute to their easy-going way of life. Their system of enculturation includes babies and young children being cared for by children only a few years their senior, who will transition to small gangs of boys or girls free to play. Later, as growth sets in and puberty nears, the changing, dynamic role of becoming a productive member of their society happens unceremoniously, not precisely by age but once an individual reaches a particular size. Throughout this process, there is little emphasis on the nuclear parent child relationship, instead there is a village of mothers and fathers due to their social network of households and kinship terminology system. Additionally, sexualization of young Samoans is carefree, done at their own pace, without judgement, as the Samoan society is sexually permissive. These stark differences to our own system in the United States produce noteworthy results. Socialization and sexualization of young people in Samoa is more relaxed, has less rigid rules and focuses on overall harmony, producing less conflict than that of adolescents in America. Boys in Samoa learn they will be scolded or ridiculed if they are either too lazy or work too rapidly. Within his group he gains status by winning a sweetheart and, “conversely, his social prestige is increased by his amorous exploits” (27). Girls, at the same age, lack status,

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