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Margaret Mead: The Study of Contemporary Western Culture
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Margaret Mead and Geoffrey Gorer/John Rickman
Introduction by Sergei Aruitnov, Russian Academy of Sciences
320 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-57181-230-8 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (July 2001)
ISBN 978-1-57181-234-6 $24.95/£19.95 Pb Published (July 2001)
eISBN 978-1-78920-598-5 eBook
“These texts expose… the impoverishing effect of recent emphases on critical virtuosity. The phenomenological status, processes, and practices involved (in our culture) in terms such as "character" are fascinating to study.” • Journal of Anthropological Research
“Regardless of the dated theoretical approach of these classics, their valuable factual material and the ability of the authors to inspire further reflection still make them worth reading.” • Ethnos
This volume brings together two classic works on the culture of the Russian people which have been long out of print. Gorer's Great Russian Culture and Mead's Soviet Attitudes towards Authority: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Problems of Soviet Character were among the first attempts by anthropologists to analyze Russian society.
They were influential both for several generations of anthropologists and in shaping American governmental attitudes toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War period. Additionally they offer fascinating insights into the early anthropological use of psychological data to analyze cultural patterns. Read as part of the history of the anthropology of complex contemporary societies, they are as fascinating for their more questionable conclusions as for their accurate characterizations of Russian life.
Margaret Mead served as Curator of Ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History from 1925 to 1969. She began her career with a study of youth and adolescence in Samoan society, published as Coming of Age in Samoa (1928). She published prolifically, becoming a seminal figure in anthropology, and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1979.