New lives for old: cultural transformation--Manus, 1928-1953

MorrowNew York • Published In 1956 • Pages:

By: Mead, Margaret.

This volume is an extension of the author's earlier work, GROWING UP IN NEW GUINEA, published in 1930. It is based on her study of Manus in the Admiralty Islands in 1953, twenty-five years after her original field study. The main problems of research were to discover what 'really happened' to transform the Manus people so rapidly, and what was the impact of change on individuals who experienced such change. In analyzing the dynamics of culture change of Manus, the author discusses the impact of American military occupation, the characteristics and the role of the Manus leader, the socio-religious-political reform movements; the socialization process of the Manus children and their character formation in relation to the character structure of those who developed them; and new institutions such as their democratic decision-making mechanism, money, economy, schools, medical clinics, etc. The author deals with a rather comprehensive range of factors involved in the culture change utilizing an interdisciplinary approach and the comparative method. However, her free style of shifting back and forth the data of the past and the present, the local situation and the greater New Guinea situation, and the Manus problems and the Euro-American culture makes it difficult for the reader to follow her discussions closely. The quality of the ethnographic data is uneven. The appendices reveal the author's view that the new role of anthropologists is to be not only the researcher but also to be the consultant and agent of change. This book is designed for non-professionals as well as the professional. In spite of its diffuseness, this study will be of value to those who are interested in culture change and planned change. The author's polemic against the general educational theory is noteworthy.
Reviews and critiques
Theoretical orientation in research and its results
Observation in research
Acculturation and culture contact
Sociocultural trends
Exchange transactions
External relations
Political movements
Difficult and unusual births
Childhood activities
Techniques of socialization
Transmission of skills
HRAF PubDate
Sub Region
Document Type
Hesung C. Koh ; 1962
Coverage Date
Coverage Place
Admiralty Islands, Papua New Guinea
Margaret Mead
Appendices: I. Methods used in this study -- II. A Look at Manus from the level of the United Nations -- III. Technical assistance policies and the future of the Manus -- IV. Implications for mental health and education
Includes bibliographical references (p. 529-532)
Manus (Papua New Guinea people)