Coming of Age in Samoa and Soviet Youth

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In comparing Margaret Mead's young adults in Coming of Age in Samoa to Russian youth it is evident where the differences arise. The Samoans strong cultural values leave little need for individual expression. Expectations of the children change as they get older. They know what is expected of them and want to follow the rules. In contrast, the youth in the Soviet Union, live in a culture of confusion. They feel constricted by the laws of the society, see families collapsing around them, and believe things should change. They want to be individuals and they want to live by their own values and ideas. Many come from broken homes and poor communities with little respect for authority. They rebel against what they feel is an unjust society and look for a culture or group that they can identify with. In an attempt to challenge societal values, youth cultures, in the form of rebellion, act and dress radically and form groups in protest. These dissident actions against the structure of existing society promotes the beginning of new small groups which reflect their own rules, structures, class, gender and ethnic ideologies. So, the youth culture, in challenging societal values, at the same time is reflecting them. In comparing Margaret Mead's young adults in Coming of Age in Samoa to Russian youth it is evident where the differences arise. The Samoans strong cultural values leave little need for individual expression. Expectations of the children change as they get older. They know what is expected of them and want to follow the rules. In contrast, the youth in the Soviet Union, live in a culture of confusion. They feel constricted by the laws of the society, see families collapsing around them, and believe things should change. They want to be individuals and they want to live by their own values and ideas. Many come from broken homes and poor communities with little respect for authority. They rebel against what they feel is an unjust society and look for a culture or group that they can identify with. Often society depicts these groups as dangerous, deviant and delinquent. These groups, however, just show many of the valued structures of society, but in a more radical way. They have a standard code of dress, values, ethics and rebel in order to force their ideas onto the public and to feel part of a recognizable group.

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