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‘Development’, resistance and the geographies of affect in Oecussi: Timor-Leste's Special Economic Zone (ZEESM)

Rose, Michael

Description

In 2013, it was announced that Timor-Leste's Oecussi enclave would become the site of a special economic zone. Arid, and inhabited mostly by semi-subsistence farmers from West Timor's Meto ethno-linguistic group, the plan entails remaking the enclave as an industrial, transport and tourism hub. To facilitate this, in mid-2015 the authorities began the process of clearing hundreds of indigenous gardens and homes from land slated for mega-projects intended to make the region attractive to foreign...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorRose, Michael
dc.date.accessioned2017-06-29T06:30:05Z
dc.identifier.issn0129-7619
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/118294
dc.description.abstractIn 2013, it was announced that Timor-Leste's Oecussi enclave would become the site of a special economic zone. Arid, and inhabited mostly by semi-subsistence farmers from West Timor's Meto ethno-linguistic group, the plan entails remaking the enclave as an industrial, transport and tourism hub. To facilitate this, in mid-2015 the authorities began the process of clearing hundreds of indigenous gardens and homes from land slated for mega-projects intended to make the region attractive to foreign investors. In this paper, I describe how, for many Meto, land tends to be experienced as a spiritually mediated ‘geography of affect’ (Lea & Woodward, 2010) in which questions of place, belonging, spirituality and personal fortune cannot easily be divided, a reality that raises questions about the suitability of the plan's vision of globalized and investment driven ‘development’. Drawing on Scott, I argue that in Oecussi, spirits associated with the land are not apolitical, but are sometimes perceived as acting to protect locals against powerful outsiders – a characteristically Meto ‘weapon of the weak’ that is in keeping with their previous encounters with colonial regimes.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.publisherWiley
dc.rights© 2017 Department of Geography, National University of Singapore and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd
dc.sourceSingapore Journal of Tropical Geography
dc.title‘Development’, resistance and the geographies of affect in Oecussi: Timor-Leste's Special Economic Zone (ZEESM)
dc.typeJournal article
local.identifier.citationvolume38
dc.date.issued2017
local.publisher.urlhttp://au.wiley.com/WileyCDA/
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationRose, M., Department of Anthropology, The Australian National University
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue2
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage201
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage215
local.identifier.doi10.1111/sjtg.12190
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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