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SĀMOANA AS ATUNUʻU: THE SAMOAN NATION BEYOND THE MĀLŌ AND STATE-CENTRIC NATIONALISM

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Title:SĀMOANA AS ATUNUʻU: THE SAMOAN NATION BEYOND THE MĀLŌ AND STATE-CENTRIC NATIONALISM
Authors:Patu, John
Contributors:Wesley-Smith, Terence (advisor)
Pacific Islands Studies (department)
Keywords:Political science
History of Oceania
Ethnic studies
Atunuʻu
ethnic nationalism
show 4 morenation
nation-state
nationalism
Sāmoana
show less
Date Issued:2020
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:Historical and contemporary Western discourse on the concept of the nation is often framed in terms of primordial-modernist debates and the various forms of ethnic and civic nationalisms. The referent of the nation today is the civic-nationalist notion of the nation-state, which narrowly confines the concept of a Samoan nation to the Independent State of Sāmoa (and, thus, this Sāmoa has become the referent for Samoa). This presents an obvious dilemma, despite, 1) the existence of two distinct Samoan polities, Sāmoa and American Sāmoa, and 2) the demographic shift in which more Samoans now live in the diaspora (and thus outside of this Samoan nation-state).
This thesis deconstructs the nation-state as an inadequate model to describe the current state of the Atunuʻu, the Samoan conceptualization of nation today, by interrogating its transformation throughout prehistory until now: 1) through its initial conception through Indigenous cosmogonies and Western settlement theories, 2) the creation of the Indigenous sociopolitical structure under the Fa‘asāmoa and the Fa‘amatai, 3) the transformation under initial contact with the West and subsequent colonization, 4) the postcolonial construction of the nation-state, and finally, 5) the transformation of the bounded-state into a more fluid, transnational Atunu‘u.
Given that these paradoxes confound conventional Western notions of the nation as embodied in the nation-state, can there be alternative conceptions of the nation? This thesis argues that the Atunu‘u can no longer be defined only in terms of the nation-state but must account for the transnational nature of the nation that is inclusive of the diasporas and Indigenous notions of nation, migration, and tausi va (maintaining socio-spatial relationships). This thesis then proposes that the Atunu‘u can be reconceptualized as Sāmoana, the Samoan Atunu‘u that is inclusive of all Samoans as a people, whether they are in the ‘homeland’ or the diasporas. These indigenous conceptualizations of the nation are necessary to describe not only the current phenomena but to explore the contributions of Indigenous concepts that underlie the transformation of the Atunu‘u.
Pages/Duration:228 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/69059
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - Pacific Islands Studies


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