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example. “While the demonstration that members of the same human group can grow to be
savages in a G-string or doctors in a consulting room is reassuring, this statement of limitations
is repugnant to Americans whose optimism often overflows into a belief that one can have
one’s cake and it eat it too.” (Mead and Macgregor, 1951: 18)
The research for the Mead and Macgregor book was based on research initially done
between 1936 and 1939. It involved the study of eight children and their families living in poor
villages in the mountainous Kintamini region as they engaged in everyday activities. Villages
within the Kintamani region would have, at the time, been less accessible to tourists than the
bigger, more urban areas of Bali. To this day, the villages within the Kintamani area are less
accessible, although the district has seen more activity in the past several decades than it
arguably would have in the first half of the twentieth century.
Mead was long interested in comparative studies of different cultures and, in particular,
how different cultures compared to her own American one. Mead and Macgregor argued that
in cultures, such as American culture, where children were encouraged to have control of their
own environments quite early on in their development, movement became a sign of autonomy
and control. (Mead and Macgregor, 1951: 32-34) This could be witnessed, they argued,
through play in where young boys had a passion for playing with guns, and girls a passion for
horses. In Balinese culture, on the other hand, children were not encouraged to be
autonomous or have control from such an early age and, instead, became more dependent on
their mothers and those around them, including family members and members of their
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