Conflict, Identity, and State Formation in East Timor 2000 - 2017


In Conflict, Identity, and State Formation in East Timor 2000-2017, James Scambary analyses the complex interplay between local and national level conflict and politics in the independence period. Communal conflict, often enacted by a variety of informal groups such as gangs and martial arts groups, has been a constant feature of East Timor’s post-independence landscape. A focus on statebuilding, however, in academic discourse has largely overlooked this conflict, and the informal networks that drive Timorese politics and society. Drawing on over a decade of fieldwork, Scambary documents the range of different cultural and historical dynamics and identities that drive conflict, and by which local conflicts and non-state actors became linked to national conflict, and laid the foundations of a clientelist state.

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James Scambary, PhD (2015, Australian National University), is a research fellow at Deakin University. His publications include (2015), ‘In search of white elephants: the political economy of resource income expenditure in Timor-Leste’ Critical Asian Studies, 47 (2): 283-308.
Acronyms and Foreign Terms List of Figures and Tables 1 The Enigma of the 2006 Crisis  1 An Alternative Reading  2 Dominant Narratives   2.1 The UN Made Me Do It   2.2 Post-Crisis Representations   2.3 The Invisibility of Sub-National Conflict  3 Some Observations on the Ground   3.1 Rural-Urban Linkages  4 Normative Traditions  5 New Paradigms  6 New Critical Scholarship  7 Conceptual Approach  8 Book Structure 2 An Archaeology of Conflict  1 Historical Legacies of Conflict   1.1 The 1975 Civil War   1.2 The Indonesian Invasion   1.3 Displacement and Resettlement   1.4 The Creation of ISGS  2 The 1999 Referendum Violence   2.1 ‘Mixed with other Matters’  3 Social and Cultural Background   3.1 Language and Ethnicity   3.2 Social Organisation   3.3 Payback Traditions   3.4 Traditional and Administrative Residential Structures   3.5 Rural-Urban Migration   3.6 Conclusion 3 The 2006 Crisis in Context  1 Early Tensions  2 The April/May 2006 Crisis   2.1 Orchestrated and Inclusive Violence  3 The Second Phase  4 Patterns in Conflict  5 The Post-Crisis Period   5.1 Conclusion 4 Mystics, Messiahs and Machismo: MAGS and Veterans’ Groups  1 Group Typology  2 Veterans’ groups   2.1 Linkages and Alliances  3 Martial Arts Groups   3.1 Linkages and Alliances   3.2 Conclusion 5 Gangs or Glee Clubs? Urban Dili-Based Groups  1 Group Origins  2 Violence as a Social Construct  3 Group Typology   3.1 Youth Groups   3.2 Clandestine Groups   3.3 Gangs  4 Multiple Identities and Memberships   4.1 Conclusion 6 Conflict and Resilience in a Squatter Settlement  1 Background  2 Contested Authority   2.1 Dynamics of Communal Conflict  3 Symptoms of Alienation or Forms of Resilience?   3.1 Conclusion 7 Implications for Peacebuilding  1 Macro-Level Approaches to Peacebuilding  2 The IDP Return Process  3 mag Mediation Initiatives  4 Localised Initiatives  5 Hybrid Approaches  6 Participatory Approaches  7 Local Approaches   7.1 Conclusion   7.2 As Mac Ginty and Richmond contend 8 The Foundations of a Clientelist State  1 Politics and Elections East Timor Style  2 Emerging Clientelist Patterns  3 Centralisation of Power  4 A Culture of Informality  5 Defining Power Configurations   5.1 Conclusion 9 Conflict and State Formation: An Integrated Understanding  1 Understanding Conflict Dynamics  2 The 2006 Crisis and State-Formation  3 Postscript References Index
Anybody interested in the politics and history of East Timor and those with a broader interest in the processes of conflict, peacebuilding and state formation globally.
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