Tongans Overseas: Between Two Shores
Helen Morton Lee
Since the late 1960s Tongans have been leaving their islands in large numbers and settling in many different nations. Tongans Overseas is a timely look at their settlement experiences as they relate to cultural identity, particularly among the younger generations raised outside Tonga. What does being Tongan mean to these young people? Why do some proudly proclaim and cherish their Tongan identities while others remain ambivalent, confused, or indifferent?
Helen Morton Lee's innovative research offers insights into these and many other questions, revealing the complexities of identity construction in the context of migration and the varied ways in which individuals seek a sense of belonging. Using both traditional ethnographic fieldwork and newly popular Internet discussion forums, where young Tongans speak their minds and describe their experiences, Lee has produced the most comprehensive study of Tongan migrants to date. Throughout the book diasporic Tongans speak eloquently about their lives, and case studies of families and individuals bring the analysis to life. Lee explores tensions within overseas communities, especially the intergenerational conflicts that are contributing to the alienation of many young Tongans today.