Coming of Age - Margaret Mead (1901-1978)


1986 / 52 minutes

Directed by
André Singer
Country of production
United Kingdom
Strangers Abroad

Central Television’s major documentary series looks at the first anthropologists to stop ‘armchair theorising’ and go out to live among the peoples who so interested them. The six part series was filmed all over the world, from the frozen Canadian Arctic to the dry outback of Australia, from New Guinea to India, Africa to the South Pacific. The programme makers retraced the steps of the pioneering anthropologists in those countries and, by following the life story of each scholar, they reveal how social anthropology has contributed to our lives. The most widely read, and best known anthropologist is probably Margaret Mead, an American who went study adolescence in the South Sea-Islands at the age of 23. Although her fieldwork has been criticised, she was nevertheless one of the foremost fieldworkers of her day. In America, Bali and New Guinea she examined child development, sex and temperament to see what role society has in making people what they are. Adolescence was a time of emotional stress and personal conflict in America and Europe. Mead claimed that in Samoa, adolescence was in many ways the most enjoyable and happy time of life.

Language and subtitles
English with English Subtitles
History of Anthropology Public Figure