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Mount Holyoke College

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Program Name

Samoa: Social and Environmental Change in Oceania


This paper studies Samoa’s position in the global economy as an informal agricultural economy. A country’s access to the global economy reflects a level of socio-economic development and political power. It is also reflective of the country’s history of globalization. This research uses an analysis of past and current forms of colonization that continue to influence cultural and ideological practices, specifically practices regarding food. Concepts of wealth and well-being in subsistence and capitalist economies are compared and contrasted. Research takes place on the main island of Upolu, in and around the capital, Apia. Information is accumulated from previous research and interviews with a variety of Samoan participants. The faasamoa is regarded as a form of resilience in maintaining cultural values despite the globalization of neoliberal capitalist values. Subsistence and capitalism, although deemed inherently incompatible, function in the same sphere as Samoa utilizes capitalist concepts to maintain cultural practices. Both forms of wealth clash and yet are often held together as Samoa seeks to establish a position in the global economy while simultaneously developing the local economy to overcome colonial forms of dependence.


Agricultural and Resource Economics | Economics | Growth and Development | Pacific Islands Languages and Societies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Regional Sociology | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Work, Economy and Organizations


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