When Culture Is Not A System: Why Samoan Cultural Brokers Can Not Do Their Job

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2006
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Taylor & Francis
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In independent and American Samoa, Samoan representatives have historically been successful at furthering their communities' interests when dealing with various colonial regimes. Yet during my fieldwork in California, I kept witnessing failed encounters between Samoan migrants and government officials. I argue that government officials helped create these problems through the ways they expected Samoan migrants to act as culture-bearers. I conclude by exploring how cultural mediators become the focal point for tensions generated by the contradictory assumptions government system-carriers and Samoan culture-bearers hold about how to relate to social orders.

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Gershon, I. (2006). When Culture Is Not A System: Why Samoan Cultural Brokers Can Not Do Their Job. Ethnos, 71(4), 533–558. https://doi.org/10.1080/00141840601050700

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