Margaret Mead was an American cultural anthropologist, psychologist and writer
She developed the field of culture and personality research and was a dominant influence in introducing the concept of culture into education, medicine, and public policy.
She was both a popularizer of anthropology into modern American and Western culture.
Her fieldwork was carried out primarily among the peoples of Oceania. She made expeditions to the island of Samoa (1925-1926), Admiralty Islands (1928-1929), in New Guinea (1931-1933), Bali and New Guinea (1936-1939),
She studied adolescent and sexual behavior among primitive tribes. Mead concluded that there is no conflict of generations and the difficulty of socialization of adolescents in a traditional society.
Her theories caused later 20th-century anthropologists to question both the accuracy of her observations and the soundness of her conclusions.
The Balinese study was especially noteworthy for development of new field techniques. She extensive used of film that made possible to record and analyze significant minutiae of behavior that escape the pencil-and-paper ethnographer.
Thus, she brought back from Bali more than 38,000 photographs.
Later Mead's interest in psychiatry had turned her attention to the problem of the cultural context of schizophrenia,. A student and collaborator of Ruth Benedict, she focused her interests on problems of child rearing, personality, and culture.
She also stressed the need for anthropologists to understand the perspective of women and children
He was also active with the World Federation for Mental Health. She also cofounded the Parapsychological Association, a group advocating for the advancement of parapsychology and psychical research.
A prolific writer and avid speaker who enjoyed engaging the general public, Mead was instrumental in popularizing the anthropological concept of culture with readers in the United States.
Her reports about the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures amply informed the 1960s sexual revolution. She was a proponent of broadening sexual mores within Western Culture.
She became a prominent voice on such wide-ranging issues as women's rights and nuclear proliferation.
Margaret Mead was born on December 16, 1901 in Philadelphia and grew up there in a liberal intellectual atmosphere.
She studied with Professor Franz Boas and Dr. Ruth Benedict at Columbia University. They had a great influence on her and determined her decision to become an anthropologist. She graduated from Barnard College in 1923. Soon she graduated from Columbia University where she earned her master's degree in psychology in 1924.
Before earning her Master's Mead set out to do fieldwork in Polynesia.
She received her Ph.D. (anthropology) from Columbia University in 1929.
She served in curatorial positions at the American Museum of Natural History for over 50 years.
After 1954 she served as adjunct professor of anthropology at Columbia. In later life, Mead was a mentor to many young anthropologists and sociologists.
Mead was married three times. Her first marriage, from 1923 to 1928, was to Luther Cressman, a theological student.
Second spouse was New Zealander anthropologist Reo Fortune.
Her third marriage (1936-1950) was to British anthropologist Gregory Bateson, with whom she had a daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson who would also become an anthropologist.
Margaret Mead died on November 15, 1978.
She was buried at Trinity Episcopal Church in Buckingham, Pennsylvania.