Integrating Pacific research methodologies with Western social science research methods: quantifying Pentecostalism’s effects on Fijian relationality

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Journal Article
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Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies
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Shaver, John
White, Thomas

This paper discusses the attempts of two academics of European descent (one English, one American) who both lived and researched in Fiji for a number of years to develop a longitudinal quantitative research project examining the socio-economics of religious change in this Pacific nation. We explain how specific data gathering techniques and recent statistical advances in network analysis may offer novel means for documenting and visualising the relational ontologies of Pacific life. In quantifying the ‘space between’ individuals in Fijian villages and informal settlements by recording the flow of resources, labour and social support, over time and across the community as a whole, the data captures the relational dynamics of Fijian social life. Thus, this intended study seeks to reveal the relative socioeconomic effects of intra-Christian conversion, namely the rapid growth of Pentecostalism, on Fijian practices of reciprocity and sharing. We also consider the ethical implications and the suitability of longitudinal methods for research in the Pacific and how they may be strengthened and contextualised by attention to Pacific Research Methodologies scholarship.

conversion, pentecostalism, relationality, religion, Pacific research methodologies, quantitative methods, Fiji
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CC BY 4.0