Sex and Temperament
In Three Primitive Societies
By Margaret Mead
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060934958, 352pp.)
Publication Date: June 2001
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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 feminine characteristics are not based on fundamental sex differences but reflect the cultural conditioning of different societies. This edition, prepared for the centennial of Mead's birth, features introductions by Helen Fisher and Mead's daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson.
A precursor to Mead's illuminating Male & Female, Sex & Temperament lays the groundwork for her lifelong study of gender differences.
Margaret Mead (1901-1978) began her remarkable career when she visited Samoa at the age of twenty-three, which led to her first book, Coming of Age in Samoa. She went on to become one of the most influential women of our time, publishing some forty works and serving as Curator of Ethnology at the American Museum of Natural History as well as president of major scientific associations. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom following her death in 1978.