A Critical Ethnography of Dispossession, Indigenous Sovereignty and Knowledge Production in Resistance in Samoa

  • Author / Creator
    Gordon, Naomi N
  • Samoa’s independence in 1962 came with high expectations for sovereignty and freedom from colonial domination. The continued struggle against material and social dispossession during fifty-four years of independence, however, suggests that the tentacles of colonialism are hard to dislodge. Against the backdrop of neoliberal globalization (contemporary capitalism), structural reforms target Samoa’s financial and agricultural sectors with a sole emphasis on promoting the economic use of customary land. The current project of colonial capital moves to privatize and commodify customary land tenure, which for many matai (chief) threatens alienation of customary land and has deep implications for fa’aSamoa (Samoan way) and fa’amatai (political system of matai). These intrusions have been contested by matai in and through spaces of learning and social action, reindigenizing fa’aSamoa and fa’amatai to rearticulate power relations and engage in struggles to protect customary land and Samoa’s sovereignty. The primary purpose of this research was to critically examine the continuities and the mechanisms of accumulation by dispossession (ABD) or the colonial capitalist infiltration of Samoa’s political economy and traditional governance systems and ways of life. The study also sought to elaborate on modes of traditional organization, resistance, and learning in social action or the struggle for control of customary land, labour, food production, and political sovereignty in Samoa. A critical ethnography, informed by an anticolonial and Marxist analytic, guided the analysis of colonial capitalist domination and attempted disarticulations of Samoan ways of knowing and doing, including the spaces of learning in struggle and social action to re-indigenize fa’aSamoa and fa’amatai.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr. Evelyn Steinhauser (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Dr. Steven Jordan (Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University)