Faa Samoa: Peacebuilder or Peacebreaker? Understanding Samoa's Domestic Violence Problem: A Peace and Conflict Perspective.

Author: Ligaliga, Michael Fusi

Date: 2018

Publisher: University of Otago

Type: Thesis

Link to this item using this URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10523/8180

University of Otago


Over the past 30 years, Samoa has been a model example of peace and stability throughout the Pacific region. The fusion of traditional (fono o matai and faamatai) and western institutions (Westminster style of democracy) of governance, albeit not a perfect marriage, has nonetheless been credited with Samoa’s ability to sustain peace and stability. Despite this, domestic violence is now an epidemic in Samoa. Numerous research studies have adopted the concept of faa Samoa to examine Samoa’s protective and preventative mechanisms (va or relational spaces, va tapuia or sacred spaces, faaaloalo or respect, alofa or love and, malupuipui or protection) against domestic violence. However, little is known about whether or not there are other aspects within faa Samoa that contribute to or influence domestic violence in Samoa. This research employs Galtung’s Typology of Violence to analyze Samoa’s domestic violence issues. Galtung suggests there are three types of violence—direct, structural and cultural and that direct violence is reinforced by structural and cultural violence. The study adopts the talanoa and faafaletui methodological approaches as the platform for interviewing research participants. Respondents in the study represent Samoan leaders who are directly involved in the domestic violence agenda in Samoa. From these discussions, three themes: aiga or family, nuu/matai or village/chief, and ekalesia or church are identified as contributors to domestic violence in Samoa. In addition to Galtung’s Typology of Violence, two additional peace and conflict theories are introduced to expand the discussion on the domestic violence problem in Samoa. Dugan (1996) Nested Theory of Conflict (NTC) articulates how domestic violence is embedded and a part of a larger social system. Lederach (1997) Nested Time Paradigm (NTP), in terms of reconciliation and sustainability, the conflict resolution process must be viewed in time frames if sustainability is feasible. From these theories, the atinae le filemu (peacebuilding) or ALF model is introduced as a possible model to address domestic violence in Samoa. The theories employed in this study serve to add to existing studies on domestic violence in Samoa. In addition to this, the peace and conflict theories can inform and direct future studies towards the problem. Galtung’s typology of violence raises important institutional and cultural problems that can influence and justify the act of domestic violence. Some of these contributors are subtle and at times invisible, while others are masked and hide behind Samoa’s traditional institutions. Whether violence is perceived as unseen (structural and culture violence) or visible (direct violence), this needs to be addressed. The thesis incorporates Dugan’s Nested Theory of Conflict (NTC) and Lederach’s Nested Time Paradigm (NTP) with Samoan traditional protective mechanisms to draw attention to the shortcomings of previous reports and to make practical recommendations for addressing the problem of domestic violence in Samoa.

Subjects: Domesticviolence, Directviolence, Structuralviolence, Culturalviolence, Galtung, Lederach, Peacebuilding

Citation: ["Ligaliga, M. F. (2018). Faa Samoa: Peacebuilder or Peacebreaker? Understanding Samoa’s Domestic Violence Problem: A Peace and Conflict Perspective. (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10523/8180"]

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