Faamatai: A Globalized Pacific Identity

  • Melani AnaeEmail author
Reference work entry


Many social scientists – anthropologists, sociolinguists, economists, historians, and social theorists – view transnationalism and globalization as the movement or flow of people, goods, services, and ideas between nation-states or countries, as well as the complex connections between all of these (Appadurai (1996); Bauman (2001); Blommaert (2010); Brettell (2003); Castells (1996); Giddens (1999); Harvey (2005); Hobsbawm (1992); Marcus (1995); Stiglitz (2006); Tsuda (2003); Wallerstein (2004). This chapter is about how transnationality – the condition of cultural connectedness and mobility across space – which has been intensified by late capitalism and transnationalism is used to refer to the cultural specificities of global processes, by tracing the multiplicity of the uses and conception of “culture” (Ong (1999:4). Are Pacific nation-states being transformed by globalization into a single globalized economy? How are global cultural forces impacting on Pacific peoples, cultures, and identities? These questions will be explored with a focus on the links between cultural logics of human action and on economic and political processes within the Pacific, based on my Marsden research – a longitudinal study examining experiences of global Samoan matai (chiefs) and the Samoan transnational chiefly system (faamatai). Refuting claims about the end of traditional faamatai and the nation-state, what follows is an account of the cultural logics of globalization and development and an incisive contribution to the study of Pacific modernity and its links to global social change.


Pacific transnationalism Globalization from below Comparative advantage Faamatai: Samoan chiefly system Transnational reincorporation 



The author, Lupematasila Misatauveve Dr Melani Anae wishes to thank the Marsden Fund, Royal Society of New Zealand, for their assistance, without which my team (Seulupe Dr Falaniko Tominiko, Muliagatele Vavao Fetui, Malepeai Dr Ieti Lima) would not have been able to conduct our Marsden Project research. We also wish to thank our matai research participants who kindly agreed to be interviewed by the team, the 550 transnational matai who completed our online survey, and Pacific Studies, Te Wānanga o Waipapa, University of Auckland, for supporting this research project. A big thank you to Emmet Hawe who provided the Marsden Survey findings info-graphs.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pacific Studies|School of Māori Studies and Pacific Studies, Te Wānanga o WaipapaUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Section editors and affiliations

  • Melani Shyleen Anae
    • 1
  1. 1.Pacific Studies, Te Wānanga o WaipapaUniversity of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

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