Mead’s portrayal of fieldwork is very intriguing and makes a lot of sense as you think about it: an anthropologist who does fieldwork seems to be a journalist. I’ve seen a lot of tv programs where anthropologists immerse themselves in a group and understand everything they can about it. They seem to have no limits and are able to go to whatever length to get a complete picture of the locals. The truth of what these anthropologists must endure is harsh. Many may think it is comfortable but getting accustomed to all the different changes such as weather, food, and way of life can be difficult for anyone primarily to add the language barrier which is often an issue, in the beginning, imagine dealing with this for months even years. I have a newfound respect for field-working anthropologist, from what I have seen on television they make it seem like it is not so bad, but in reality putting yourself in their shoes it would be none less thantricky and life-changing experiences.

What would it be like to be in the field outside of your culture?

For me to be in the field outside of my culture would probably be extremely difficult. For example, I am currently stationed in the United Kingdom, which was a bit of being outside my universalreligion because they do use a different dialect as the United States, the currency is different, and the weather is entirelyunusual. It has taken me years to not only perfect my wardrobe to accommodate this weather difference, but also learn about what I should and can do for entertainment during this time of the year when the weather is dark, cold, and rainy (Baldacchino, 2004). I would probably do well seeing as I am a great observer and can blend in quite well in most situations. As stated in the text it can be challenging to get an accurate spectrum of your studies for some reasons, for one the if you are noticed as an anthropologist local may be more adamant to seem proper, and professionals around you, so false results may occur. Second, the language barrier may cause limitations in your observations. Also, you may run into some restraint for examples places in countries around the world don’t allow women into their local area, or they may require them to wear particular attire, or they may not recognizecameras or recording devices.


Topic 1: Gender

What did you learn from Mead’s book about gender in the Samoan Islands?

There are many differences between the male and female roles and lifestyle in the Samoa Islands. The differences start soon as birth for example when a girl is born her chord is buried under a tree in hopes that she will become a great home and caretakers if they are boys it is thrown into the sea I hope for a grandfisher. The girls are usually ignored up to adolescent. When girls became adolescent a few things happened, aside from their typical sex codes in which the daughters of chiefs simply had sex until they found the perfect husband and became impregnated, they also took positions of authority within the community around 15 years of age a female is chosen as the princess of the tribe. For the most part, the women focus on childcare while the men concentrate on fishing and providing means of nutrition (Eriksen, 2010). The males and females are taught about things such as death, birth, things that are not typical to teach young children in the American community. At a young age, the males are the cooks while the female does the strenuous work, the brothers are indeed restricted from speaking.

What did you learn that expanded your overall perspective on gender?

I learned that gender rolecouldbe reversed in different societies, I am used to the woman being spoiled, more comfortable life, while the men are expected to do the hard work and heavy lifting, they get the harsher punishment, women are the cooks, not the men. But as I have learned no one gender can do one specific gender confirmedthing, in reality, men can cook, and women can be mistreated. The women can be given the role of the men in the society to find ends meet while the men are having the responsibility of caring for children and taking the house chores. Even though the shift of gender responsibilities is not a proper approach, many can engage in the same for their own reasons. I have also learned that the woman, despite the general nature of considering the women to be weaklings, they can undertake different responsibilities that involve hard labor. They can undertake the hard labor to meet their needs, and hence they should not be considered to be the minority group in the society. They have the skills and technical ability to undertake any task that the men can. On the other hand, the men can also work towards meeting the household chores and hence should be helping their wives and mothers within their homes.

Topic 3: Kinship Systems and Family.

The society Mead described is built around kinship and family relationships.

It is evident from the book that the society is made up of kings and family relationships She states many typical problems are quickly resolved within this community. Many of the adolescence, unlike typical American puberty, is not filled with drama and petty issues. The issues concerning these kinds of problems are solved from within the family level, and hence they cannot be pushed outside for the community to know about them. Many of the girl’s regular goals were to sleep with as many men until they find the perfect mate, then get married and have many children while living near their family. This analogy, however, is contrary to the current settings, as it would be against many values and beliefs. However, in the society described by Mead, the activity is important to the girls since it helped them to realize who their mates were and were achieved through the family friendships.

How does kinship structure the everyday lives of the people described in her book?

Their culture was a more calm and harmonious community working together in a somewhat peaceful environment. Families are united once married and stay so until death, or separation. The culture is described in a manner that people live in peace and harmony. In the event of one of the people facing any difficulties, then the community will work together towards solving their problems and therefore improve their overall outcomes and lifestyle. On the other hand, once families were married, they would not separate until death or separation bylaw would take its course. This is because of the high value placed on relationships, friendship, and the community. Kingship structure is detailed on the leadership evident in the book. The community, despite working together in harmony, is seen to be led by a leader who must ensure the majority of the problems faced by the community are solved.


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?

This book is part of our course because one it has had many kickbacks from another anthropologist, stating the relativity and truth behind it, and this was one of the earlier forms of learning about the study of anthology, with the author supposedly being the most famous anthropologist in the world, it would be shameful not to have learned about her and her reading. The book provides information concerning how the structure was like in the era, helping to realize the patterns of living, the interaction of human beings and factors leading to their development and growth. The same is important since it has a vast cultural significance to the community.

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?

Her book tells us a lot that I believe would not have been said from a journalist, the point of view; she spoke mainly about the culture and the people from the start of birth of Samoans to the death or end, including everything in between. The information provided by the author is explicit and shows details that the journalists would not have access to, and if they did, they would alter some of the information, either to reduce or to add on the same. I believe a journalist would not speak about the birth to death but more so about specific,intriguing predominantly negative results happening at the moment.

What can we learn from this book?

We can learn a lot from this book especially from someone who knows nothing of the Samoa culture. I learned a lot because there are lots of differences that I was raised knowing to a typical samosa life and growth. This book also taught us how an anthropologist submerges themselves into a culture and community for an extendedperiod almost a year, and documents everything learned compiling it into a book (Boellstorff, 2015). The book as well taught me about the gender roles and how they are shared in the community. But as I have learned no one gender can do one specific gender confirmedthing, in reality, men can cook, and women can be mistreated. The women can be given the role of the men in the society to find ends meet while the men are having the responsibility of caring for children and taking the house chores. Even though the shift of gender responsibilities is not a proper approach, many can engage in the same for their own reasons.


Boellstorff, T. (2015). Coming of age in Second Life: An anthropologist explores the virtually human. Princeton University Press.

Baldacchino, G. (2004). The coming of age of island studies. Tijdschrift vooreconomische en socialegeografie, 95(3), 272-283. From

Eriksen, T. H. (2010). Small Places, Large Issues: An Introduction to Social and Cultural Anthropology (3rd Edition). London, GBR: Pluto Press. Retrieved from

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