ERIC Number: ED222419
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Management of Aggression in a Male-Dominated Culture: Samoan Migrant Women in Distress.
Lazar, Ineke Maria
"Spirit possession" of Samoan women is a subconscious channel for venting aggression in a male-dominated society. Research conducted in the Los Angeles Samoan community which retains many of its traditional Samoan values showed that authority and allocation of resources are vested in men; women take care of children and home and are often socially isolated. Although tradition allows men to resort to drunkenness as an outlet, women are not even allowed to express anger. Further, tight conformity to rigid sex roles among Samoan women creates a greater amount of stress. Their culture does, however, provide a culturally accepted mechanism for the release of tension and for managing aggression for Samoan females through "spirit possession." When possessed the females move convulsively and behave violently. Normal sex roles are suspended and the woman is constantly cared for by her family. Spirt possession is an affliction solely of Samoan females and cannot be consciously attempted; it is a construct of the ethnic unconscious. Local medical professionals need to understand the cultural significance of possession in order to respond with an effective mental health program. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the National Women's Studies Association Conference (Arcata, CA, June, 1982).