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Tapuia (space made sacred) in bridging research and relationships brown culture and commonsensical ethics

Meaola Amituanai- Toloa

Abstract


The institutional ethics application such as the one all postgraduate students have to consider for the purposes of research does not and cannot begin to address nor offer solutions on the various and diverse issues one encounters in the field. This is especially true when researching your own people. This paper addresses some of the ethical issues from the Samoan cultural perspective by describing my own Master’s research. It argues that whilst institutional ethics is a suitable requirement, in the Fa’aSamoa1 protocol, culture has had its own ethical processes and boundaries already defined by the‘va tapuia’ concept of sacred space of ‘feagaiga’ (the covenant relationship of brother and sister). Its validity is judged not by the institution, but by participants. The research is used to illustrate the process and its significance.


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