New Releases on Timor-Leste

Women and the Politics of Gender in Post-Conflict Timor-Leste: Between Heaven and Earth (ASAA Women in Asia Series)
Sara Niner (Editor)

This book presents a wide-ranging overview of the position of women in Timor-Leste, 15 years after the country secured its independence. It considers the role of women in Timor-Leste’s history, explores their role in the present day economy and politics, and discusses their contribution to culture and society. The contested meaning of gender itself is investigated in the contemporary culture of this new society. It applies a wide range of different feminist theories and approaches, and concludes with a discussion of what new directions gender studies in Timor-Leste might take.
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Becoming Landowners: Entanglements of Custom and Modernity in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste
Victoria C. Stead

Across Melanesia, as across much of the world, the ways in which people connect to land are being transformed by modernizing processes of change—globalization, the building of states and nations, practices and imaginaries of development, the legacies of colonialism, and the complexities of postcolonial encounters. Melanesian peoples are becoming landowners, this book argues, both in the sense that these processes of change compel forms of property relations, and in the sense that “landowner” and “custom landowner” become identities to be wielded against the encroachment of both state and capital. In places where customary forms of land tenure have long been dominant, deeply intertwined with senses of self and relationships with others, land now becomes a crucible upon which social relations, power, and culture are reconfigured and reimagined.Employing a multi-sited ethnographic approach, Becoming Landowners explores these transformations to land and life as they unfold across two Melanesian countries. The chapters move between coasts and inland mountain ranges, between urban centers and rural villages, telling the stories of people and places who are always situated and particular but who also share powerful commonalities of experience. These stories include: a subsistence-based community shaped by the legacies of colonialism and occupation in remote Timor-Leste; villagers in Papua New Guinea resisting a mining operation and the government agents supporting it; an urban East Timorese settlement resisting eviction by the nation-state its residents hoped would represent them in the postindependence era; and people and groups in both countries who are struggling for, with, and sometimes against formal codification of their claims to land and place. In each of these places customary and modern forms of connection to land are being propelled into complex and dynamic configurations, theorized here in an innovative way as entanglements of custom and modernity.

Moving between multiple sites, scales, and forms of collectivity, Becoming Landowners reveals entanglements as spaces of deep ambivalence, where structures of power are destabilized in ways that can lend themselves to the diminishing of local autonomy, but which also create new possibilities for reasserting that autonomy.

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Property and Social Resilience in Times of Conflict: Land, Custom and Law in East Timor
Daniel Fitzpatrick and Andrew McWilliam

Peace-building in a number of contemporary contexts involves fragile states, influential customary systems and histories of land conflict arising from mass population displacement. This book is a timely response to the increased international focus on peace-building problems arising from population displacement and post-conflict state fragility. It considers the relationship between property and resilient customary systems in conflict-affected East Timor. The chapters include micro-studies of customary land and population displacement during the periods of Portuguese colonization and Indonesian military occupation. There is also analysis of the development of laws relating to customary land in independent East Timor (Timor Leste). The book fills a gap in socio-legal literature on property, custom and peace-building and is of interest to property scholars, anthropologists, and academics and practitioners in the emerging field of peace and conflict studies.
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Between Trauma and the Sacred: The Cultural Shaping of Remitting-Relapsing Psychosis in Post-Conflict Timor-Leste
James Rodger and Zachary Steel
This volume develops a dynamic but contextualized multi-level formulation of psychosis and psychotic-symptoms, able to incorporate a range of factors from the biological, through the sociocultural, to the political. The work is truly interdisciplinary drawing on both the quantitative and qualitative findings of our own study but further supported through local ethnography and broader anthropological enquiry into the outcomes of psychosis in non-Western settings; psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic anthropology; evidence and theory exploring links between trauma, dissociation and psychosis; and novel culturally-adaptable psychosocial focused interventions for psychosis. We situate both evidence and theorising in wider epistemological and political context, including in relation to the movement for Global Mental Health. Culturally patterned presentations of brief remitting-relapsing psychosis are ultimately conceived as the trade-off between competing fragmentary and synthetic forces: the former in part secondary to the lasting and deleterious effects of overwhelming loss, trauma and adversity; the latter emboldened by cultural meaning and social response in the context of broad ecological pressures demanding survival and resilience.

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