Margaret Mead, US anthropologist

Margaret Mead, US anthropologist

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Credit: SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Margaret Mead (1901-1978), US anthropologist, at a social occasion at the New York Academy of Sciences. Mead is known for her work on the tribal cultures in Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Bali. In the mid-1920s Mead studied tribal people in Samoa, and documented their adolescence and attitudes to sex. In Bali in the 1930s, she carried out a photographic study of the native people, and published over 35,000 images of them. Her studies of cultures supposedly free from sexual jealousy and violence led her to advocate changes in American society, and she spoke out against US isolationism. It is now thought by some that her idyllic descriptions of tribal life were based on misconceptions and hoaxes.

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