Institutt for sosialantropologi

Ways of Knowing, Ways of Life. Environment, Education and Climate Change in a Rual Samoan Village


Master's thesis submitted at Department of Social Anthropology, spring 2015.

By: Miriam Ladstein
Supervisor: Professor Edvard Hviding

This thesis is based on fieldwork in Falealupo village on the island of Savai’i, Samoa between February and July of 2014. Considering the teaching and learning of Western science at the local primary school in light of local environmental knowledge and perceptions in the village, I address different variables and questions related to how or whether these two ways of knowing can work together in finding solutions for environmental sustainability and adaptation.

With the escalation of climate change in the Pacific and the world over, local and global orientations towards a shared human responsibility for our world is of increasing significance. This thesis suggests that in order to understand how people relate to and react to climate change as a phenomenon or reality, one must first consider how they perceive their local environment. In my research I focused on the upbringing and education of children in Falealupo to identify the knowledge and values considered important for children to have, and the degree to which these correspond or are divided between the village and the school.