’s Coming of Age in Samoa (1928) aims to show that everything around us, every part of our culture
is actually a social construction
, although the term “social construction” was used probably about 40 years after she published her work. (see Berger and Luckmann
). Mead attempts to find the underlying reasons for the difference between modern (Indo-European and American) experiences of puberty
and that of Samoan puberty. In her experience makes the two experiences very different is the way two cultures are socialization
; if we speak of Mead’s terms, the way the children are educated. Through the socialization period, young people learn to feel pain, feel ashamed, fall in love, feel devoted, etc. The norms
of the society
are shaped and carried through generations, and they finally make up the very distinct reality of a very distinct culture.
IMHO the most important contribution of the book to the field is probably the way it shows that Anthropology is not only a study of distant cultures, but it also helps us learn about our own culture. This work is the first attempt to analyze Western world by implementing fieldwork in a primitive culture.