The Brain Drain and Culture Paradox in Samoa

Studenteropgave: Kandidatspeciale og HD afgangsprojekt

  • Thomas Hessellund Gillman
4. semester, Udviklingsstudier, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This thesis has attempted to build on the experience gained through living in Samoa and working for the United Nations Development Programme. Through this experience it became clear that culture, Fa’a Samoa, is of central importance to the country and therefore this thesis has utilised a social constructivist philosophical starting point in order to explore its importance in a wider context. Samoa is one of the countries in the Pacific that has had the highest levels of migration. It has been proposed that it is often the well-educated who choose to migrate in search of further opportunities. Thus the thesis has looked to explore the way in which the brain drain, or the emigration of the well-educated members of a society, has impacted upon the robustness of Fa’a Samoa. In order to start exploring this in depth, data was gathered through a number of interviews with citizens from a variety of different employment and social backgrounds within Samoa. This data has enabled the thesis to explore the way in which citizens view the issue of brain drain and how it has affected their lives and how they see it affecting Samoa’s development. Further, the brain drain phenomena has been well explored in the literature and thus this thesis utilises the views of scholars within the field of migration in the Pacific such as J. Connell, Sa'iliemanu Lilomaiava-Doktor, E. Hau’ofa and H. Lee. However, it was felt that there needed to be a third view in order to gain a broader understanding of the research area and thus the views of key donor and development partners have also be included. The knowledge for this aspect was gathered both through the work experienced gained while in Samoa, which included participation in the 3rd Annual SIDS Conference, and the research of Samoa’s key development donors’ databases. Another main goal of the thesis was to raise awareness of the Pacific and nations such as Samoa in order to begin the breaking down of the ideas of remoteness and isolation, which seem to have become prevalent within the international community. In doing so it is hoped to add to the literature regarding the Pacific through focusing, in part, on the role of indigenous knowledge and how this engages with the brain drain and also to bring the Pacific in general back into the global consciousness through writing about the region. It has attempted to achieve this through utilising two further theories: D. North’s Theory of Institutional Change and I. Wallerstein’s World Systems Theory. These two theories allowed the thesis to explore the importance of the historical precedents of the brain drain and also Samoa’s current position within the world system. Through this, the thesis has been able to generate a number of potential policy recommendations principally: a policy that would allow for more freedom of expression amongst artists, a policy which allows for the creation of a knowledge hub within Samoa which will focus on the way in which indigenous knowledge can contribute to sustainable development, a policy which allows citizens official channels through which to gain access to remittances. These look to utilise the paradox between the brain drain and the robustness of Fa’a Samoa in order to help Samoa develop further.
Udgivelsesdato23 maj 2015
Antal sider70
ID: 212821223