FRHD 2280 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Margaret Mead, Individualism, Acculturation

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Lecture 5: Cultural Beliefs
Margaret Mead
How is adolescent influenced? By socialization and cultural influence. Margaret Mead went in 1925/26
to Samoa. Her most famous work was Coming of Age in Samoa. Noted that the gender roles were very different
in Samoa compared to Westerners. Seemed like a lot of support for nurture. Adolescent for girls was a much
less stressful time. In Samoa for females worth as a marriage partner was centered more around work ethic than
virginity. Also talked that adolescents in general were more comfortable about their maturing body in Samoa.
About 5 years after she died, Freedman wrote a book that trashed her work. Research methods were not up to
par, but unclear.
What are Cultural Beliefs?
Beliefs in a culture about what is right and what is wrong. But have to be specific about what culture
you are talking about. Often stereotypes are incomplete. There are many parts to what is important in life.
Where we place the value depends on one's culture. Symbolic inheritance is the set of ideas and understandings,
both implicit and explicit about persons, society, nature and divinity that serve as a guide to life in a particular
culture. It is expressed symbolically through stories, songs, rituals, sacred objects and sacred places. In our
Western culture, achievement and autonomy are very important.
Roles and Cultural Beliefs
There is status, behaviour and expectations that we associate with roles, like being a university student.
Also other roles, like gender roles that show the difference between males and females. How we socialize
adolescents to be male and female. There are three aspects of socialization: the process by which we acquire
these behaviours and beliefs, which include self-regulation, role preparation, and sources of meaning. Self
regulation is how we control ourselves, which is encouraged from childhood through adolescence. Role
preparation is the outcome of socialization that prepares us for occupational roles, gender roles, and family
roles, or preparation from institutions. Sources of meaning are the ideas and beliefs about what is important and
what has meaning.
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