The Ethnographic Perspective: Coming of Age in Samoa

Writing Assignment 1: The Ethnographic Perspective: Coming of Age in Samoa (Week 4)
• apply knowledge of the range of human behavior and worldviews to everyday situations and problems
• describe the contextual nature of communication and its role in the transmission and sharing of culture
• identify existing personal perceptions (biases) and practices to function effectively and tolerantly in a culturally diverse nation and world
Overview of fieldwork
• Describe briefly your impressions of the “fieldwork” described in Mead’s book.
• What would it be like to be in the field outside of your culture?
• Support your opinions with examples from the text.
Coming of Age in Samoa as it relates to anthropological concepts and issues
• Select and respond to two topics from Area A and
• Select and respond to one topic from Area B below.
Note: this is not a book report. The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate your academic writing skills and your understanding of the course material through an analysisComing of Age in Samoa as it relates to the anthropological concepts and issues covered in class to date.

Area a select topics
Topic 1: Gender.
• What did you learn from Mead’s book about gender in the Samoan Islands?
• What did you learn that expanded your overall perspective on gender?
Topic 2: Social Structure
• What can we learn from this book about how social structure functions in a complex society?
Area b
Topic 2: What we do versus what we say.
• Discuss the idea of real versus ideal behavior, as exemplified by the people studied and by the anthropologist.
• Are the people actually living out the cultural system as they might describe it?
• If not, how does the cultural system vary from what they say?
• Does Mead behave as you would expect an anthropologist to behave?
• If not, how does her behavior differ from what you would expect?

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