Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Summer 2015

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Resource Management

Committee Chair

Lene Pedersen

Second Committee Member

Kathleen Barlow

Third Committee Member

Mark Auslander


Through the analysis of a Marquesan family in a touristic setting in Tahiti, this thesis explores the notion of the Polynesian body as a site of struggle between the gaze of cosmopolitan French tourists on the exotic other, and the resistance and self-interiorizing of the body by Marquesans. Many contemporary Marquesans choose to migrate to the more urbanized, popular tourist destination of Tahiti, for work, schooling, and medical procedures. Removed from their native land, Marquesans build upon traditional cultural practices and worldviews, while simultaneously actively creating innovative aspects of their experience in the new setting, on and within the body. Based on data gathered through ethnographic research, participant observation and interviews in August, 2014, Pape’ete, Tahiti, I analyze how tourist performances, food preparation, consumption and distribution, as well as tattooing create and affirm Marquesan culture in the diaspora.