What did you learn about the people of the Samoan Islands

What did you learn about the people of the Samoan Islands

What did you learn about the people of the Samoan Islands

Describe briefly the nature of Mead′s fieldwork (when, where, for long long, why–what kinds of research questions did she hope to address) Describe briefly your impressions of the ″fieldwork″ described in Mead’s book. Coming of Age in Samoa as it relates to anthropological concepts and issues Select and respond to two topics from Area A and Select and respond to one topic from Area B below.

Note: this is not a book report. The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate your academic writing skills and your understanding of the course material through an analysis Coming of Age in Samoa as it relates to the anthropological concepts and issues covered in class to date.

Area A: What did you learn about the people of the Samoan Islands?

Topic 1: Gender. What did you learn from Mead’s book about gender in the Samoan Islands? What did you learn that expanded your overall perspective on gender?

Topic 2: Social Structure What can we learn from this book about how social structure functions in a complex society?

Topic 3: Kinship Systems and Family. The society Mead described is built around kinship and family relationships. How does kinship structure the everyday lives of the people described in her book?

Topic 4: Economics. How are people making a living and supporting their families and kin groups in this setting? What is the relationship of the economics presented to the areas discussed above (gender, social structure, kinship, and economics)?

Area B

Topic 1: Coming of Age in Samoa is not a new book. This book was published in 1928. So why is it part of this course? What does it tell us that we might not get from a journalist′s account of the Samoan Islands? Or from another ethnography about a different geographic area? What can we learn from this book?

Topic 2: What we do versus what we say. Discuss the idea of real versus ideal behavior, as exemplified by the people studied and by the anthropologist. Are the people actually living out the cultural system as they might describe it? If not, how does the cultural system vary from what they say? Does Mead behave as you would expect an anthropologist to behave? If not, how does her behavior differ from what you would expect?

Topic 3: Being an ethnographer. What are Mead’s greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses as an ethnographer? Describe the most serious or trying difficulties Mead experienced. Based on her account, what qualities do you think are most important in a successful anthropological fieldworker? Could you conduct this kind of ethnographic fieldwork?

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