Abstract

New flows of population movements have called into question both conventional categories of "migration" and their assumptions, encouraged by concepts such as diaspora and transnationalism. Despite the incorporation of the new concepts diaspora and transnationalism in migration studies in Oceania, conceptual problems remain because traditional categories of migration, diaspora, and transnationalism continue to dominate mobility literature with notions of severing ties, uprootedness, and rupture as Pacific Islanders move from the periphery (villages) to the core (Pacific Rim countries). In this article, I argue that indigenous conceptions of migration and development provide a better understanding of people's movements and the connection of migration to development for Island societies and economies. Through an ethnogeographic study of Salelologa, a Samoan village with members in Sāmoa and overseas, I use Samoan concepts for migration, malaga, and social connectedness, , to examine the processes, ideologies, and interactions that 'āiga (kin group, family members) maintain and retain in the diaspora as they seek ways to improve households and human betterment. This discussion of a Samoan philosophy and epistemology of movement expands, invigorates, and redefines ideas of migration, development, transnationality, place, and identity through Samoan ontological lenses. Harnessing an awareness of indigenous concepts is not enough, however, unless indigeneity and its concepts are fully integrated into theoretical approaches to mobility research in Oceania.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9464
Print ISSN
1043-898X
Pages
pp. 1-32
Launched on MUSE
2009-02-11
Open Access
No
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