SUPPOSE YOU WERE A NETSILIK: Teens in Other Societies by Barbara Milbauer

SUPPOSE YOU WERE A NETSILIK: Teens in Other Societies

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The first half of this introduction to comparative anthropology is taken up, not with descriptions of teenage life in other societies, but with an over-generalized description of our own, with frequent reminders that what seems obvious to us may be unheard of in other societies. Milbauer's apologies notwithstanding, the material is obvious, in the sense that we learn nothing from it--though there are several offhand statements we might question. (These range from her assumption that the battle for birth control information for adolescents has been won, to her statement that the bulk of TV commercials, including toothpaste and car ads, is ""aimed specifically at adolescents."") Later chapters compare kinship structure, marriage customs, and child-rearing in other societies, with specific attention to the Ibo of Africa, reservation Cheyenne (differences between traditional and contemporary ways acknowledged), Netsilik Eskimos of Alaska, and the Hutterites, a Christian sect in the western US and Canada. Young people who got through elementary school without units on the Hopi, Masai, or whatever might gain from this an awareness that there are other ways of doing things. However, if true awareness comes from real and specific knowledge, teens will find a better introduction to comparative anthropology from Margaret Mead's reports on adolescence in Samoa and New Guinea.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1981
Publisher: Messner