Ocean nets: the maintenance and dissolution of an Indigenous small world-system in West Polynesia

Date

2015-08-14

Authors

Sutherland, Gabrielle

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Abstract

This thesis is an application of the theory and method of the comparative world-systems approach to West Polynesia. This study examines the interactions between the archipelagos of Tonga, Fiji, and Samoa during the period between 1770 and 1870, that include the exchange in prestige valuables, military/political interactions, and marriages. Using the nested interaction net model of Chase-Dunn and Hall, this thesis analyzes the interactions in order to determine whether the interactions display systemic properties, that is to say whether the interactions are important in the social reproduction in each of the particular societal units of the region. The archival evidence shows that the region was an indigenous world-system, whereby interactions served to maintain the stability of the system, which then as a result of European involvement in the region resulted in an increase of Tongan political domination, before the entire system was broken up and governed by different colonial powers.

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Keywords

West Polynesia, Tonga, Fiji, Samoa, Comparative World-Systems Theory

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