In April, 2006, the small half-island state of East Timor erupted in a civil conflict that was to last nearly two years. Commonly portrayed as a one-off, urban phenomenon, conflict patterns suggest that this event was really a continuation of endemic but highly localised communal conflict — in both rural and urban areas. Through such factors as rural urban-migration, kinship and former clandestine networks, however, local actors become intricately linked to national level actors. This seminar examines the links between local and national level violence in 2006-7, and between this violence and contemporary contours of power. It details the emergence of a clientelist, neo-patrimonial state; how a command style of government, in tandem with an array of parallel, informal and illicit networks have undermined the foundations of a legal rational state, with critical consequences for development and the rule of law. Special attention will also be given to the legacy of Indonesian rule on patterns of conflict and clientelism.
James Scambary is a Visiting Fellow at the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program at the Australian National University.
Please register if you wish to attend this seminar: