Margaret Mead – in conversation – National Public Radio Portion of Voices In The Wind – April 14, 1972 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Margaret Mead in a brief conversation; part of the NPR series Voices In The Wind – discussing the American Family, as it stood in 1972. Seems like a few lifetimes ago – Margaret Mead; the Social Anthropologist who got into more than a few controversies, particularly during this period of Social revolution – along with the emerging Women’s Movement, the evolution of Roe V. Wade, the continuation of the 60s and the overhaul of institutions, the questioning of motives and the challenging of social structures in not just America but all over the world.
You have to admit, it was a very revolutionary time – sadly, much of it came “this close” but stopped. Much as there was a movement afoot to change the way we thought and acted, there was just as much a counter-movement to resist that change – to retreat and to turn back the clock to a period that existed only in imaginations and not in real life. It’s a fundamental controversy that continues to this day with no signs of letting up.
Margaret Mead had nearly as many detractors as she had champions, and even her work with traditional cultures in the South Pacific, resulting in the landmark study Coming of Age In Samoa was both embraced and lambasted by peers and colleagues alike.
This brief interview – a little under four minutes, distills the problems which plagued 1970s America. But unlike many during this period who spoke of problems while not offering solutions, Margaret Mead spoke of “what-ifs” in very plausible terms – goals that could be reached which would have long-term benefits to the human race – goals which could use a bit of revisiting today – today as in April 14th – right now – this minute.
In the early 70s we were looking at the world and wondering what it was going to be like during the next century. Well, here we are in that next century and we regret we didn’t pay a bit more attention.
Sadly, Margaret Mead left us in 1978 – one can only speculate what she’d be saying today – or perhaps, like most of us, looking around the room in search of the adults.
Here is Margaret Mead from Voices In The Wind for April 14, 1972.