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But it was well received when first published and is still in print despite being thoroughly debunked.

It forms part of scripture for the sexual freedom movement.

Actually, anthropologists teach the Mead work as a famous failure, so that students can learn how biases can creep into experimental design.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say that it's still in print despite being debunked. No one takes it seriously anymore except as a pedagogical tool. Are you seriously advocating its banning? And if so, why stop there? Why not ban the Koran? Mein Kampf? Part of what makes democracy great is that we're adult enough to live with freedom of speech.

You also say Mead's work is "scripture" for the sexual freedom movement, but don't name any names. Unless you can point to specific instances, then this is a strawman.


Shocked, I can tell you Mead doesn't feature in Eve's Bite, but her modern equivalents do...and they come a cropper...which I guess people will start to see in the next few days...


I don't know why you get squiffy about my reference to Margaret Mead, shocked?

The book is "Coming of age in Samoa" is still still in print as I stated in my post. And we agree, as do most but not all anthropolgists that it is a load of tosh.

However apart from Samoans who have always hated it (with justification), it was never seriously questioned until 1983, well after the cultural shift I posit.

Margaret Mead was incredibly influential in her lifetime and at the forefront of things like feminism and family planning.

And were she still alive today she doubtlessly would be hostile to the "chastity" movement since it runs counter to a central thesis in her work that sexual repression can result in psychological harm.


I'm not interested in defending Mead, as I'm sure you realise, but in teasing out what you meant by your remark about her book still being in print. If anthropologists hold the book up as a learning tool, then that's a very good reason for libraries and students to buy it.

However, you seem to be implying that we should stop buying it because it's been debunked. Or perhaps simply because you disagree with it?



Couldn't care less whether anybody buys Margaret Mead's books or not. As they say "a fool and his money ...."

The point was, of course, the cultural influence this book and its author have had since it was published.

And as Ian has noted Margaret Mead has many intellectual heirs.


Shocked, the impression I got from Andrei's statement that the book is "still in print" was not that Andrei was advocating it being banned, but more a wry observation that even though it has been thoroughly debunked, people are still buying it.

There are many "out of print" books that are in that state due to lack of interest, not being on a banning list.

Although, as you say, it could be useful purely as a cautionary tale.

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