The Warm Winds of Change: Globalisation and Contemporary Sāmoa

Cluny Macpherson & La‘avasa Macpherson


‘The Macphersons, who bring 40 years of academic study to this masterpiece, argue Samoa is a durable place.’ – Mike Field, The Independent


What leads a Sāmoan villager to buy a Chinese polypropylene mat rather than making a pandanus mat? When do Pacific emigrants stop sending back money to their home village? Do villagers stop giving away fish when they have a refrigerator to store it in? In The Warm Winds of Change, Cluny and La‘avasa Macpherson look at ordinary lives in a Pacific village in order to provide an accessible introduction to the ways in which Pacific societies are being transformed by the forces of globalisation.

Global culture has had a powerful impact on the flora and fauna, the people, languages and cultures of the Pacific for many centuries. But these earlier changes were largely controlled and managed by Pacific societies as new people, ideas, and things were incorporated into traditional chiefly culture. The Macphersons suggest that recent changes are delivering a more profound challenge to tradition. Society is shifting from baskets to buckets, from chiefly and religious authority to a questioning democracy, from in-kind work to a cash economy.

Every day in Western news, media report on the key forces of globalisation – free flows of capital, people and ideas, the impact of big cultures and economies on small nations, the falling costs of distance. Here the Macphersons make those forces tangible by showing us how globalisation is transforming daily life in an ordinary Pacific village.


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Cluny Macpherson is a professor of Sociology in the School of Social and Cultural Studies at Massey University (Albany). La‘avasa Macpherson is a trained nurse, researcher and translator. The Macphersons also wrote Samoan Medical Belief and Practice (Auckland University Press, 1990; 2006).


September 2009, 210 x 148 mm, 260 pages, illustrations
Paperback, ISBN 9781869404451, $45