Talk:Margaret Mead

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"Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."[edit]

Added a citation for the reference to this quote in The West Wing. However I cannot find any definite attribution of the quote to Mead. This recollection is the closest, but seems to be a recollection of an oral statement: "One of my teachers at LSE, Margaret Mead, told me and my classmates to 'never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.' I have remained inspired by her words." Firoz Lalji (BSc Economics 1969), LSE Benefactor. Tacyarg (talk) 21:00, 29 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Margaret Mead never worked at LSE and likely never said that anywhere. Rupert the Frog (talk) 08:40, 10 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've removed it, not just because she indeed doesn't seem to have worked at LSE but because of the comments at Wikiquote[1] which I'll copy below:
  • Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
    • Attributed in Curing Nuclear Madness (1984) by Frank G. Sommers and Tana Dineen, p. 158; also in And I Quote: The Definitive Collection of Quotes, Sayings, and Jokes for the Contemporary Speechmaker (1992), edited by Ashton Applewhite, Tripp Evans, and Andrew Frothingham. No contemporaneous source is known. Ralph Keyes, in the introduction to The Quote Verifier (2006), p. xvi, gives this as an example of situations where derivative sources merely cite each other and no one knows the original source.
    • Variants:
      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
      Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.
      A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
      Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever does.
      Never doubt that a thoughtful, committed individual can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Doug Weller talk 16:52, 10 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

But all of her fake material (possibly fabricated by others) is still a "contribution" of sorts. I suggest putting back in the quote uses, but maybe pointing out it's fake. Rupert the Frog (talk) 17:06, 10 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The FAQ on Mead's Institute for Intercultural Studies website ( notes that the quote, while unsourced, is trademarked in part by her granddaughter. Chadthomasgreen (talk) 16:11, 24 January 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Carl Sagan, Margaret Mead, and the theory that some cultures don't know that sex causes babies[edit]

  • At least according to my possibly faulty memory, once upon a time, probably in either Broca's Brain or in Cosmos (as these are the two books of Sagan's that I can remember reading), Carl Sagan criticized an allegedly naive Western young female anthropologist (whom my possibly mistaken memory tells me was Mead) for supposedly creating (or helping to create) the myth (or alleged myth) that some cultures supposedly don't know (either thru never discovering, or thru somehow unlearning) that babies are caused by sex. Sagan claimed the female wrote that she had told a male local on some Pacific island that sex was caused by babies, and the man had replied that was impossible, pointing to a woman who had given birth recently despite her husband being away for 3 years. Sagan added that if a young woman had said the same to him he might also have been tempted to pull her leg with a story about the birds and the bees.
  • (On the other hand, incidentally, I was related to a now-deceased psychiatrist who once briefly argued that there are many possible 'benefits' (such as free love, etc) for a society that chooses to unlearn the idea that sex causes babies - and I also note that until recently the cost of any such unlearning might have been especially low in a Pacific island where isolation means free love is less likely to lead to sexually transmitted diseases (something which also supposedly applied until recently to the alleged culture of sexual hospitality among at least some Inuit, who as a result are now reportedly plagued by sexually transmitted diseases in the less isolated modern world) - but, unfortunately or otherwise, per WP:NOTFORUM, I am not here to discuss this idea, but to discuss ways of improving this article).
  • However I don't have a copy of Cosmos, and a quick perusal of the index of Broca's Brain didn't get me any quick confirmation of this story, and neither did perhaps an hour of Google searches. So, per WP:NOTCOMPULSORY and WP:BNO, I've decided to give up on the search myself. But if some other editor(s) can find Reliable Source confirmation of this story, it might well be able to be used to improve this article (or possibly some other article, if the allegedly naive female turns out to be somebody other than Mead).

Oops - it seems my memory was partly at fault. The "naive female" was in fact the male Bronislaw Malinowski in the Trobriand Islands - it's in the last 2 pages (pages 79-80 in my edition) of Chapter 6 (White Dwarfs and Little Green Men) of Carl Sagan's Broca's Brain. Sorry about that. Tlhslobus (talk) 23:35, 4 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've now added a sentence about this in our Malinowski article.Tlhslobus (talk) 00:25, 5 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seems like an irrelevant piece of trivia to me. I also don't know why we should believe Sagan, a non-anthropologist who never visited the Trobriands, over Malinowski who did.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 07:30, 5 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My recollection is that Sagan didn't endorse the proposition that the primitives hadn't figured out the connection between sex and reproduction. What I remember him saying is that, if representatives from that culture told an anthropologist such a thing, they were quite possibly pulling the Foreigner's leg, considering it absurd to ask if they know the connection when everyone knows where babies come from. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:52, 24 August 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Publications by Mead as a sole author[edit]

This section appears to omit the following publication...Social Organization of Manua (1930). Mead, Margaret. Social Organization of Manua (1930) Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii. No ISBN, but online version (OCLC)604495315. [1] and there is a copy on my bookshelf --Freckster (talk) 00:02, 24 November 2018 (UTC) Social Oganization of Manua ISBN 9780910240086 [2] --Freckster (talk) 00:32, 24 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Verification of cite re Attenborough's view[edit]

As I was curious to see what Sir David thought, checked this Swahili source.[1] If Google translate is to be believed, it does not mention either Mead or Attenborough - nor Coming of Age in Samoa. Here is the (very poor) translation:

Inom psykologin

Stora tänkare 58:18

Genomic inspirations from the 1930s and for the first time were a day in which there was a great connection between psychiatrists and conservatives and those who were very active. Have you ever been asked to sign up for a free account? Sigmund Freud, a psychologist who specializes in psychologist Carl Jung, as well as Stanley Milgram analogy as a result of a broad-based approach to the Yale i början in the 1960s. We are also looking at the controversial British psychiatrist R.D. Laing flarklara hur begreppet sinnessjukdom tillskrivs individuals individually as integer up to sahällets krav.

While it's a bit gibberish, it's still clear it has nothing to say about the relevant material. Sorry I was unable to find a replacement source for this statement, for all I think it is likely correct, but I will look some more. (talk) 09:50, 12 April 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ "Big Thinkers Within Psychology. BBC Documentary" (in Swahili). May 4, 2013. Archived from the original on April 19, 2016. Retrieved 12 April 2021.