Faʻa-Samoa and Population Movement from the Inside Out: The Case of Salelologa, Savaiʻi

Lilomaiava-Doktor, Saʻiliemanu
Chapman, Murray
Geography and Environment
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2004]
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Migration research in Oceania has produced a problematic genre that continues to be dominated by conceptions of population movement occurring between two poles: the rural and urban, or village and metropolitan areas. Embedded in migration assumptions are notions of individualism, social disjuncture, and the primacy of economic motivations as understood in capitalist terms. Rather than construct movement and identity of people in places rural or urban, or framed by the bipolar model of settler and sojourner, this study goes beyond such polarities. Through an analysis of how culture, in this case fa'a-Samoa, integrates movement, ʻaiga (household, family), and configurations of mobility, this dissertation argues that embodied experience is central to Samoan identities as exemplified in local metaphors of movement, identity, and place. This research focuses on the experience of people from Salelologa village on Savai`i, the big island of Samoa, and its social extensions abroad. Based on more than eighteen months fieldwork in Salelologa with members of ʻaiga in sites in Auckland, New Zealand and Santa Ana, California, this study tells of the transformations occurring in local society and the individuals within it. Fa'a-Samoa (Samoan way of life/culture/knowing) is a conceptual tool with which to examine concepts of migration, diaspora, transnational ism, and place. Cultural metaphors of movement: malaga (moving back and forth), and of where: fafo (overseas) and i`inei (here), most clearly expressed identity and conceptions of movement and place for Samoan social worlds. Questions about movement led to how people think of personal and group relationships and how social connections express continuity in interactions with others who move, rather than around notions of cultural rupture and social dissipation. Samoans, through personal narratives of identity and movement, evoke va (social space) or the space that relates rather than separates and which guides appropriate behavior, acts of reciprocity, and continued links and interactions between people and places. In this study, the emphasis is on the dialectical interaction between faʻa-Samoa, movement, polities, and intricate processes of westernization and globalization for local societies and economies.
PhD University of Hawaii at Manoa 2004
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 373–400).
Samoa, Samoa social life and customs, emigration, immigration, Savaii Island, cultural anthropology, Faa-Samoa, population movement, Salelologa, Savaii
xvi, 400 leaves, bound : illustrations, color maps ; cm
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Geography.
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