Home Institution

Bates College

Publication Date

Fall 12-1-2014

Program Name

Samoa: Pacific Communities and Social Change


The Samoan Baha’i community balances their multiple identities in a society where they are a minority. Their cultural, religious and gender identities are all essential to their expressions as human beings, and this research aims to explore how Samoan Baha’i reconcile their multiplicity of identities. Information was gathered through a wide range of primary and secondary resources consisting of interviews, other forms of personal communications and participatory observation. An expansion of the notion of intersectionality in a Pacific context contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of cultural change, globalization and social justice. As the Baha’i religion does not believe in continuing national identities many Baha’i do not actively pursue ways which maintain their Samoan identity, especially concerning cultural institutions that clash with core values of the faith. However the foundational values of Baha’i and Samoan culture align and show that the seemingly conflicting identities have been successfully renegotiated.


Civic and Community Engagement | Ethics in Religion | Family, Life Course, and Society | Gender and Sexuality | International and Area Studies | Other International and Area Studies | Other Religion | Pacific Islands Languages and Societies | Polynesian Studies | Race and Ethnicity | Religion | Sociology of Culture


Article Location