Home Institution

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

Samoa: Pacific Islands Studies


Samoa presently finds itself caught between the wave of development and an unyielding tie to its culture. Development in Samoa consists of a multitude of efforts including, but not limited to, commercial agriculture, tourism, environmental protection, and private sector business. In all of the areas, the struggle between the Western view and the Samoan internalization of the Western view proves readily apparent. More so, the way of life in Samoa somehow drips its way through the cracks of all these ideas, creating protocol for development which is uniquely Samoan. The research examines the strength and weaknesses of the small roadside shops found throughout the islands of Samoa. Case studies of shops in the rural village of Lotofaga and the sprawling urban village of Vaitele-Uta were the focus for information. Interviews with shop keepers as well as government officials sought to further validate observations and opinions. The research shed light on the small shops and their amazing role as an icon for the representation of a multitude of issues presently facing Samoa. Furthermore, the research allowed an accurate view of the shops’ actual contribution to the development of Samoan economy, or lack thereof, which served as the impetus for the study. Presently, the shops are not contributing in any significant manner to the development of the Samoan economy. Rather these shops are a staple in subsistence of a “cultural economy” stemming from ideas and practices lying at the heart of every Samoan. Ironically, the onset of Western economics has fueled a transition of protocol in cultural economics not soon to be undone.


Economics | Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Growth and Development


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