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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