The paper reviews the concept of community as it has been used by social scientists to describe groups of people, and explores how it might be developed to understand the experience of diasporic communities. Although community avoids some of the essentializing tendencies that are inherent in the concept of culture, the classic use of community fails to acknowledge the reality of travel, and the transcultural, transnational movement of people and ideas. Four Samoan individuals who live in Seattle are portrayed using the method of "ethnography of the particular" to illustrate the cross-cutting influences of their lives and the fluid nature of the boundaries that surround their multiple communities. Shared values of the importance of family ties and church connections help to define what it means to be Samoan in Seattle.


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pp. 307-340
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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