Home Institution

Swarthmore College

Publication Date

Fall 2008

Program Name

Samoa: Pacific Islands Studies


The goal of this study was to explore the ‘religiosity’ of Samoa. Specifically, this study attempted to understand how ‘religious’ the average Samoan is, as well as examine the implications of being ‘religious’ in Samoa. It also sought to investigate the plurality of religions in Samoa, the existence of individuals moving between churches, and attitudes towards religious plurality. In addition, this study explored differences between the religiosities of younger and older generations and attitudes toward Samoan youth. Based on the results from interviews and surveys, it was concluded that Samoans view themselves and their country as ‘very religious.’ Being ‘religious’ is a vague concept but can generally be understood in Samoa to include aspects of spirituality, belief, and practice. Although Samoans place a high value on having a religion, one’s religious denomination is of little importance. Such fluidity among denominations has allowed for the practice of young people moving between churches in Samoa. In addition, it was found that, while ‘inauthentic religiosity’ exists in Samoa, it may not warrant criticism.


Anthropology | Religion | Social and Cultural Anthropology



Article Location