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Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies
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Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  323 ratings  ·  17 reviews
First published in 1935, Sex & Temperament is a fascinating and brilliant anthropological study of the intimate lives of three New Guinea tribes from infancy to adulthood. Focusing on the gentle, mountain-dwelling Arapesh, the fierce, cannibalistic Mundugumor, and the graceful headhunters of Tchambuli -- Mead advances the theory that many so-called masculine and femini ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 22nd 2001 by Harper Perennial (first published 1935)
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Dolly
I feel like it's unfair to give such an important anthropological work a low rating, but in terms of my personal enjoyment of the book, it really was "just okay." Like most early anthropological texts, the writing is dry. Margaret Mead positions herself distantly from her "subjects," and looks at the three New Guinean societies with an etic perspective. I think it's worth looking at if you're a student interested in how the early study of anthropology impacted feminism or gender roles (i.e. the ...more
Michelle
I learned that I live in bubble, and that exploring other worlds, cultures, beliefs, as well as adopting a multiple truths approach to life...should climb up to the top of my to do list.
Cleiton
O livro tem um valor histórico de posicionar características que antes eram atribuídas a homens ou a mulheres como sendo condicionadas socialmente. No entanto, é preciso ler o livro também com os olhos de hoje, além de ler com os olhos da época. A autora se centra em mostrar, ancorada na psicologia, como homens e mulheres podem ter condicionados diferentes "temperamentos". A autora toma homens e mulheres como dados naturais, ao passo de que a cultura ficaria reservado apenas um molde específico ...more
Ffiamma
attraverso lo studio delle abitudini e dei costumi di tre popolazioni della nuova guinea, margaret mead ci fa vedere l'influsso del sesso sul temperamento e ci mostra che le differenze tra uomini e donne sono spesso create dai condizionamenti sociali. studio degli anni 30, molto chiaro e affascinante- da perdercisi dentro.
Carter
This book was written in 1935 and writing style/language being indicative of that time period was somewhat dry and formal. This is understandable because of both the time frame and the fact that this book was written for educational purposes/scholarly audiences. This made the book somewhat of a long read.

However, Margaret Mead did a fantastic job of addressing her initial concern, that of the differences in male and female behavior in the context of cultural norms. She was able to follow three
...more
Valerie
Margaret Mead had more notoriety than her contemporaries (compare her to her schoolmate Ruth Benedict, for example). The students of Franz Boas changed anthropology to such a degree that many of the criticisms of their work tend to blame them for not going far enough along the trails they blazed. People in Mead's time tended, for example, to criticize her for getting TOO much involved in the personal experiences of her 'subjects'--now she's considered too dry and impersonal.

Mead was a puckish,
...more
Ginger
This ethnography discusses the different gender roles in three different cultures, each located in the same country: New Guinea. The Arapesh believe that both women and men become pregnant when the woman is pregnant, and will perform the same child rearing duties as women. The Mundugumor are cannabalistic and both men and women do not give a lot of physical affection to their children. The Tchambuli men believe that art is important, and it is their role in society to pursue the arts while the w ...more
Lorenzo
Il carattere antropologico del libro è già un punto a favore nel mio giudizio. Amo i saggi e le costruzioni narrative intorno ad esso, le esplorazioni più inconsuete ed approfondite. La fortuna di questo libro impegnativo è che riesce a sfatare la naturale convinzione che il sesso dia origine di per sé a differenti temperamenti. Il pensiero che possano trattarsi di condizioni socialmente realizzate anziché biologiche è difficile da comprendere, ma avventurandosi nella lettura attenta di diverse ...more
Edwige
Bien que les théories de Margaret Mead aient été remises en cause de nombreuses fois, ses observations des tribus océaniennes nous montrent à quel point la société façonne l'être humain et que rien n'est "prédéfini". Agréable à lire, on s'imagine très bien se retrouver au milieu d'un village Arapesh ou à une fête Chambuli. Margaret Mead nous donne à travers ce livre une vision des relations homme-femme; non seulement dans les sociétés claniques, mais nous renvoie également au rapport entre les s ...more
Roman Westberg
Culture provides us with roles connected with values, these roles are shaping our behaviour, but it also limits our potential where our personality is not in agreement with these roles... Society needs to provide many more sets of roles, not limited by sex, social gifts or status. Schools, families, working places should allow greater variety in values, expressing higher tolerance with diversity...
Good summary and introduction in this book, feels fresh after 60 years.
Vanessa
I hate to say this but it just didn't capture my attention for very long. I suppose the problem is that I went into this reading it as a lay person but the writing was a bit too dry for me to be swept up into it.
Alex
margaret mead's classic work in feminist anthropology. she scopes out various native tribes in new guinea, where gender dynamics are different, or somewhat reverse, of the western definitions.
Ginger
I liked it not for the ethnography but for the time capsule of feminist thought.
Kero Guynes
One of the best anthropological read thus far.
Mike
Jan 03, 2008 Mike rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anthropology Majors
Recommended to Mike by: Doctor What's-His-Face
Not bad for an Anthro text book
Carol Rose Stark Neal
Scheduled to reread, actually
kat
Very interesting read.
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Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist who was frequently a featured writer and speaker in the mass media throughout the '60s and '70s as a popularizer of the insights of anthropology into modern American and western life but also a respected, if controversial, academic anthropologist.

Her reports as to the purportedly healthy attitude towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian
...more
More about Margaret Mead...
Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilisation Blackberry Winter: My Earlier Years Male and Female Growing Up in New Guinea Letters from the Field, 1925-1975

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