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View the PDF document Rootedness in 'aiga : work and movement among Teine uli in Samoa and Aotearoa/New Zealand
Author: Liki, Asenati
Institution: University of Hawaii
Award: Ph.D.
Subject: Racially mixed women -- Samoa, Melanesians -- Samoa
Date: 2007.
Call No.: pac DU 819 .A2 L55 2007
BRN: 1192443
Copyright:Over 80% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission

Abstract: This dissertation examines ways of thinking in population geography, with specific reference to work and movement among Teine uli, the Melanesian-Samoan women in Samoa and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Dominant thinking in Pacific population research is clearly that which also prevails in the subfield of population geography. Empiricist analyses that reflect dualistic thinking on place and culture gloss over the culturallyrooted experiences of island women in particular and islanders in general. Informed by Samoan cultural thinking, I argue that alternative ways of understanding work and movement would help population geographers better comprehend the dynamics of these processes in reciprocity-based societies. The central question in this study is: how do women from reciprocity-based societies in general conceive of their work and movement? The desire behind this question is to address meanings that are marginalized, overlooked, and ignored in population-related scholarship. Drawing parallels with humanist and feminist approaches in geography, this study examines the cultural meanings and experiences that constitute the lived experiences of Teine uli. Appreciating experiences as complex and flexible, a multimethod approach is used to integrate standard techniques in population enquiry (field census, life history matrix) and ethnographic insights (participant observation, indepth interviews, personal stories). Adopting a range of methods in the field, in Samoa and in Auckland, New Zealand, enhances the capacity to provide new insights in the analysis of work and movement. viii In and of itself, the multimethod approach does not inevitably provide new ways of thinking about these processes. This dissertation takes aiga (family) as the intellectual and philosophical point of reference. Within this are embedded the concepts of va fealoaloa’i (social space between people) and fa’alavelave (family and cultural events), because they incorporate the sociocultural, spatial, and economic meanings of work and movement valued in reciprocity-based places. It argues for a more radical, deliberate, and genuine shift of scholarly thinking about the cultural world of island women as a way to broaden our search for knowledge and for a more sensitive kind of population geography.
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