The Influence of Religion and Culture on Planning and Decision-making Processes in Samoa
Culture and religion form the foundation for all political, economic and social organisations in the Pacific Island nation of Samoa, and are inextricably linked (So’o, 2008). They are two of the most fundamental aspects present in the everyday lives of Samoan people. Both aspects dictate the day to day routines and practices of Samoa’s people whether it is in the home, workplace, or social setting. The importance of religion is reflected in the national emblem which states ‘E faavae I le Atua Samoa’ which translates to ‘Samoa is founded in God’. Culture is also important and this is highlighted in the way Samoan people are determined not to abandon their customs and traditions and so, instead of evolving into a government based completely on western democracy, the two world views were combined. It was a case of western democracy meets Samoan customs and traditions, and this is how Samoa has been governed ever since. The overall aim of this study was to establish the extent to which religion and culture influence planning and decision-making processes in Samoa. To answer this aim, four key questions were established. These questions looked at the significance of religion in Samoa, the nature of the relationship between religion and government, the influence religion has on planning and decision-making processes, and lastly, the hierarchy of importance in government of religion and culture. Through using these four questions as guiding themes, the study was able to collect both primary and secondary data, analyse them and provide a conclusion that answered the main aim. This study has found that the influence of religion and culture on planning and decision-making processes in the Samoan government takes form at different levels and do not occur to the same extent. It is evident from the results that culture plays a more prominent role in the government and as a result, the extent of its influence on planning and decision-making processes is much greater than that of religion. This study also concludes that religion does have an influence on planning and decision-making processes of the Samoan government however, the extent of this influence is only at the discretion of government. While religion holds a significant role in Samoan society, its ability to change planning laws and legislation and make decisions is controlled solely by government.
Advisor: Freeman, Claire
Degree Name: Master of Planning
Degree Discipline: Geography
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Samoa; planning; government; religion; influence; influence of religion on government; policy; planning process in samoa
Research Type: Thesis