Transformations in Independent Timor-Leste: Dynamics of Social and Cultural Cohabitations, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Transformations in Independent Timor-Leste

Dynamics of Social and Cultural Cohabitations, 1st Edition

Edited by Susana de Matos Viegas, Rui Graça Feijó


272 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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1999 was a decisive year in the long history of the people of Timor-Leste, whose future was open when they voted for independence in a UN-sponsored referendum. Its results left no doubt that the Timorese considered themselves to be a nation wishing to have their own state, which they would rule.

This book examines a vast array of transformations that have taken place over the past decades. It puts forward the idea of "cohabitations", which aims at inscribing the mutual influences arising from the existence of distinct social processes not only side by side but in their mutual influences and entanglements, sometimes resulting from effective clashes, some others from peaceful manipulation of social and cultural differences. From this analytical viewpoint of evolving power dynamics of cohabitations, experts in the field investigate issues that have been contentious in the recent past and analyse the challenges that present-day Timor-Leste is facing. Structured in three parts, the contributions address issues of governance, land, as well as the transformation in the traditional culture including conceptions about identity and exchange, and transformations in the ritual and religious experiences of becoming a nation rooted in self-determination.

For the first time bringing together original contributions by the most notable experts on Timor-Leste in a cohesive and comprehensive way, the book will be of interest to academics in the field of Southeast Asian Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Law Studies, History and Political Science.

Table of Contents

Introduction: exploring cohabitations in Timor-Leste Susana de Matos and Rui Graça Feijó

Part I Contexts for a "revival of custom"

1. Returning to origin places in an expanding world: customary ritual in independent Timor-Leste Elisabeth G. Traube

2. Hunting and harvesting in the commons: on the cultural politics of custom Andrew McWilliam

3. The re-assertion of sacralised authority in post-occupation Uato-Lari Susana Barnes

4. Territorialities of the fallen heroes Susana de Matos Viegas and Rui Graça Feijó

Part II Land and territory

5. The challenges of establishing a land tenure system in a newly independent state Dionisio Babo Soares

6. Navigating without a compass: state transition in Timor-Leste’s formal land tenure system Bernardo Almeida

7. Reconceptualizing land and territory in Oecusse Ambeno’s enclave’s special economic zone Laura S. Meitzner Yoder

8. Exchange, water and motif in an etic genre of narrative David Hicks

Part III Governance and democracy

9. An ecology of governance: rethinking the state and political community M. Anne Brown and Damian Grenfell

10. Managing persons and rituals: economic pedagogy as government tactics Kelly Silva

11. Local administration: a view from Vemasse Michael Leach

12. At home we wear cawat, outside we wear a tie: cohabitation and political legitimacy in grass-roots democracy Rui Graça Feijó

13. Conflict resolution and the making of personhood in Lisadila, Maubara Daniel S. Simião

About the Editors

Susana de Matos Viegas is Research Fellow at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon, Portugal.

Rui Graça Feijó is Research Fellow at the Center for Social Studies, University of Coimbra, and the Institute for Contemporary History, New University of Lisbon, Portugal.

About the Series

Routledge/City University of Hong Kong Southeast Asia Series

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / Asian American Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies