This thesis is based on seven months of fieldwork in the Pacific nation of Tuvalu. The first four months of the fieldwork was spent on the outer island Nukulaelae, while the last three months of the fieldwork took place in Funafuti, the country's capital island. The objective of this study has been to discover how, and why change and continuity of custom and culture happen in Tuvalu. In recent years, several groups have had a focus on Tuvalu in regards to climate change. Some have claimed that the Tuvaluans are losing their culture.The inhabitants have, in some cases, been portrayed as helpless victims in regards to changes resulting from outside influences. Through this thesis, I aim to discover how people govern their own vulnerability, and if they themselves have any control of the changes taking place in their community.
By using empirical descriptions of specific situations, I discuss how expressions of love is connected to change, family, nature and personhood. Through a recollection of the country's history, I discuss how change and continuity has happened in the past, and how it is taking place today. Tuvalu, being a small and isolated nation in the South Pacific Ocean, have for several years been affected by outside influences. Today, these influences gives birth to conflicts between the younger and older generation. Facing expectations behave in accordance to what is regarded as traditional customs and good Christian values, this can be difficult to live up to for the younger generation of the islands. The conflicting expectations faced by young people in their day to day life, as well as regarding important life decisions, will be of interest to this thesis.
Some of the questions asked in this thesis are; how do people respond and adapt to changes in their community and surroundings? Do they themselves have any influences regarding these changes? How do people act in situations that differ with what is regarded as being in accordance to traditional social custom? What steps do they take to ensure social continuity? By applying theories of moral reasoning, generalization, place and personhood I shall discuss how change, love, family and nature are all interconnected aspects of the Tuvaluan way of life.