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Consensus versus dissent: democracy, pluralism and governance in Samoa

Huffer, Elise B. and So'o, A. (2003) Consensus versus dissent: democracy, pluralism and governance in Samoa. Asia Pacific Viewpoint, 44 (3). pp. 281-304. ISSN 1360-7456

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Consensus is a term widely used in Sāmoa and elsewhere in the Pacific. It is considered to be a key feature of decision-making and a fundamental characteristic of fa’asāmoa and other Pacific ways of being and doing. In Sāmoa it has been a mark of the strength and continuity of the fa’a matai through the ages of colonialism, neo-colonialism and globalisation. However, although it has evolved in many ways to take into account new social trends (for instance allowing children to take part in family discussions) and remains strong at the family and village level, its role at the national level has virtually disappeared. This is seldom stated publicly and consensus is still held up as a defining characteristic of Sāmoaness. At the same time, although the rise of dissent is given little acknowledgement, it permeates public life. One could assume, based on this result that the ideology of consensus is perpetuated in order to reduce national public debate on governance issues.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Government, Development and International Affairs
Depositing User: Ms Mereoni Camailakeba
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2003 04:42
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2012 07:46

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