Thesis

I Am The Apple Of My Brother's Eye' : An investigation into the evolving roles of Samoan women with particular reference to religion and gender relations

7 Jul 2005
Description

What does it mean to be a Samoan woman? The following thesis addresses this question by exploring the lived experiences of Samoan women with particular reference to religion and gender relations. Adopting an inter-disciplinary approach, it sheds light on the tenacity of socio-cultural and political factors that influence women's roles and status. In particular, this research explores how Samoan women navigate the differing and often contradicting worlds of culture, Christianity, family, education, politics and gender. Information for this research was obtained through a series of interviews and literature analysis of primary and secondary sources. It has been the aim of this thesis to prove, not only to myself, but to those with a background and understanding similar to my own, that we, as women, are not inferior within Samoan culture. The participants' words have been integrated throughout this thesis from Chapter One so as to emphasise and give stength to the voice of Samoan women. This thesis is centred on the inspiration and aspiration of these women and as a result, their testimonies have been brought alongside the literature as opposed to being supplementary. Women's roles as sisters, wives and daughters are explored and the question is posed whether their cultural importance and status has been diminished by the influence of Christianity. From the evolution of women's roles, to the changing meanings of the feagaiga, from the arrival of Christianity to the present day, women within Samoan society play a role that is imperative to the proper function of families, villages, districts and nation. The arrival of Christianity has not stripped us of our traditional importance but has increased and expanded our roles. We, Samoan women, are not oppressed, we are not suppressed; we have a voice, a place and dreams.

Publication Details
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Handle: 
http://hdl.Handle.net/10523/5814
Published year only: 
2005
9
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