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2007 Social Sciences Abstracts

2007 Research Fair - Sociology Abstracts

Perpetuation and Adaptation of Ceremonia 'Ava Drinking
Among Ethnic Samoans of Salt Lake County
by Jacob Fitisemanu
(Faculty Sponsor:  Gretchen Siegler)

Jacob Fitisemanu displays a kava bowlThe kava (or ‘ava) ceremony has long served an integral role in maintaining the social organization of the Samoan people. The unique Samoan ‘ava customs were brought to Utah by immigrants during the 1970’s and the ceremony is currently maintained within Salt Lake County’s ethnic Samoan communities. Traditionally a formal ritual reserved for nobility, the protocol surrounding ceremonial ‘ava consumption is observed to have been modified by Samoan expatriates. These modifications have produced a distinctly flexible ceremony which permits the inclusion of non-Samoans and non-chiefly participants. Certain material culture items associated with the ‘ava ceremony are also observed to have been substituted by non-traditional items. Several notable points of differentiation between the traditional protocol of chiefly ‘ava ceremonies as practiced in Samoa and the procedural format of such ceremonies conducted in Salt Lake County have been identified through participant observations, personal interviews, focus groups, and analyses of video documentation.

A College or University:  Varied Perspectives from the Campus Community
by Kim Hammer, Kelsy Young, Peter Miterko, Holly Medrano
and Stephanie J. Sampson
(Faculty Sponsor:  Gretchen Siegler)

Social science students in a Research Methods class conducted a study to gauge the Westminster community's opinion of a potential name change from college to university.  Making use of qualitative research methodology, students took part in interviews, participation observations, and the collection of historical and textual resources, which led to coding of accumulated data.  This poster presentation will encompass the methods used and the final analysis.