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The Margaret Mead and derek Freeman debate vs Lets' Abolish high School by robert Epstein - Essay Example

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The roots of adolescence and society's view of this transformational bridge from childhood to adulthood almost defy description as it is studied in cultures around the world. Sociologists and anthropologists have argued for decades about the degree to which culture molds the teenage years and how much of a culture is a reflection of the teenager's biology…
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The Margaret Mead and derek Freeman debate vs Lets Abolish high School by robert Epstein
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Download file to see previous pages A second article titled The Margaret Mead and Derek Freeman Debate, written by Ann M. Bender, Trevor Humphries, and Trevor Michael illustrates the ongoing contention brought on by the nature versus nurture debate. We are a product of both biology and culture and both Margaret Mead's book Coming of Age in Samoa, as well as Epstein's article, reinforce this understanding of the debate about how much of our teenage years are a product of biology and how much comes from society.
Epstein's article, which calls for a rethinking of adolescence, traces a logical path that concludes that our concept of teenager is a product of our culture. Indeed, Epstein's book, which served as a basis for this article, has been the subject of a considerable number of positive reviews. Authors, professional psychiatrists, and other academic professionals have stated their acceptance and praise. Epstein does make several salient points about our view of the teenage years, how we got this way, and the potential problems that it causes. Yet, Epstein seems to contradict his own view of nature. He seemingly supports the nature argument by stating, "technically speaking we're not really children anymore, and presumably through most of human history we bore our young when we were quite young ourselves". However, in the same writing he argues about the impact of society when he laments the teenage years as a time when he "couldn't own property or do any interesting or fulfilling work, and he had no choice but to attend high school for several more years before getting on with his 'real' life". While biology propels the body into adulthood, society meters its progress and deliberates the impact of socialization. Unfortunately, Mead's book, which also found that teenagers are a product of their culture, was heavily criticized and its results were questioned. In fact, both books highlight the need for teaching children how to learn, and the vital skill of being able to think and write critically. These are traits of nurture that nature could never provide.
Margaret Mead made several of the same points as Epstein in her book, yet was heavily criticized by Derek Freeman. Though Freeman's criticism largely rested on the quality of the process and not the results, his criticism does attempt to neutralize the view that adolescence is the product of culture. Clearly, both Epstein and Mead were correct in their assessment that adolescence is molded from cultural expectations. We see this when a young man steps up to be the breadwinner when a father has suddenly disappeared from the family scene. It is apparent when a young girl becomes the homemaker when the family faces life without their mother. Freeman, though maybe technically correct, did sociology and anthropology a disservice by diminishing the importance of Mead's work and her revolutionary insights. Epstein's view that we should teach our children how to learn and send them off as teenagers to discover knowledge makes more sense in a globalized community with few borders or obstacles to information.
In conclusion, the ages old argument about nature versus nurture is not an either or and exclusive argument. Teenagers are molded by human nature as well as the society in which they are ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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