A brief study of problems of acculturation arising from troop-native contact in the area around Fua'amotu aerodrome, Friendly Islands
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The modern development of the sciences of psychology includes in only the individualistic viewpoint that the secret of the changes in man that can be found by reference to physical and psychical changes within his body, but also the broader doctrine that the actions of men can be explained by reference to his relationship with other men and women. In other words, social psychology is as integral a part of psychology as is any other branch. The quarrel between various schools of psychology in the past has been once in which certain aspects of the whole science of psychology have been over emphasised at the expense of some other branch. But that is not to suppose that the outside world of social men is a static cause, the effect of which is the same on all men. The rise in recent times of the study of comparative psychology should be sufficient to disprove this. This thesis is an attempt to show in what way such fortuitous accidents as the invasion of a small island in the middle of the Pacific by an alien force is sufficient to upset many of the psychological and customary notions of the inhabitants that live there. The technical name for the process in which two peoples with different cultures and ideas about the nature of society affect each other, is termed acculturation. If the process is continued over a long period of time then it is possible that the attitudes of both cultures may be changed to an entirely new one. If the process is a short one, as it is in this case, then no fundamental changes of any importance may take place, but even then the contact between both cultures has the effect of showing in what respect that the study of social psychology can acquire the data on which to base its eventual conclusions. But it is essential where opportunities offer themselves for study that they should be taken full advantage of by trained observers. In estimating a change which is coming over a society, it would seem that the ideal method would be that of the subtracting the society as it was in one year form what it was in another year, and then stating that the certain change have come about as a result of certain factors. But in actual fact, not only is this method impossible, not only because is the cases of Tonga no book has been written which describes exactly the life of the Tongan commoner in Tongatapu, but also because the factors causing change may be a result of certain factors already present within the society and impossible isolation. And so in applying this “subtracting method” the following factors would have to be taken into account: (a) The gradual breakdown of Tongan customs, irrespective of the troop invasion, due to the impact of white customs and material goods from outside, such as motor-cars, picture theatres and so on. (b) The impossibility of getting any reliable evidence of what Tonga was like before the troops arrived. Traders, for example, tended to think of the “unspoilt” Tongan, who worked hard and industriously all day in his plantation. (c) The difficulty of estimating the changes which are occurring in the society itself not as a result of an outside impact, but due to a leavening of the society itself. An example of this type of revolutionary happening is the overthrow of the Tuitonga by moengangongo and the coalition of both the temporal and spiritual power in the one royal line. A similar revolutionary happening on modern times is the voluntary limitation of the dictatorship of the king, Tupou, by a constitution.