In this unit (to accompany the SAPIENS podcast S6 E3), students will compare the different responses of Samoans to Margaret Mead’s work and her publications on Samoa. Using Mead as a guide, students will inspect how “outsider” anthropologists and ethnographers examine cultures different from their own and the significance this has on global views of various cultures. Students will examine the way Samoans, being the insiders in the culture, viewed an outsider’s perspective on their culture and the conclusions Mead drew. This concept of insiders and outsiders will be further examined to explain how conclusions made by outsiders shape the global view of non-Western cultures.
An approach in anthropology where an anthropologist studies a culture from inside the culture, also known as an insider perspective.
An approach in anthropology where an anthropologist studies a culture from outside the culture, also known as an outsider perspective.
Meaning many voices; an approach to archeology and anthropology that emphasizes the voices of experts from different ethnicities, genders, classes, etc.
Miller, Daniel. “How Can Anthropological Research Impact the Populations It Studies? Six Steps for Creating Inclusivity and Accessibility with Ethnographic Monographs.” Impact of Social Sciences (blog), August 18, 2020.
Naaeke, Anthony, Anastacia Kurylo, Michael Grabowski, David Linton, and Marie Radford. “Insider and Outsider Perspective in Ethnographic Research” Proceedings of the New York State Communication Association 2010, no. 9 (2012).
Pink, Sarah, and Vaike Fors. “Ethnography, Stakeholders, and Audiences: Toward Openness and Inclusivity.” Sociological Research Online 22, no. 4 (2017): 169-173.
Shankman, Paul. “The History of Samoan Sexual Conduct and the Mead-Freeman Controversy.” American Anthropologist 98, no. 3 (1996): 555-567.
Article: New York Times’ “Samoan Leader Declares ‘Both Anthropologists are Wrong”
Book: Paul Shankman’s The Trashing of Margaret Mead
Exhibition: Library of Congress’ “Margaret Mead: Human Nature and the Power of Culture”
Jasmine Rubel, Freedom Learning Group