Marilyn Strathern, 5 May 1983
It is never possible to describe one world without recalling others. The most modest anthropological enterprise necessarily involves comparison. In the first place, the comparison must be between the society described and that in whose language the description is cast. Few, however, have followed the explicitness of the young Margaret Mead in her first monograph, Coming of Age in Samoa (1928). The book opens and closes with discussion of the trauma of Western adolescence by contrast with the smooth passage of the Samoan child.