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Nation building in Timor-Leste : national identity contests and crises

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Item Summary

Title: Nation building in Timor-Leste : national identity contests and crises
Authors: Henick, Jonathan David
Keywords: Portuguese colonialism
Issue Date: Aug 2014
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2014]
Abstract: Timor-Leste, which emerged from Portuguese colonialism and Indonesian occupation to become the world's newest nation in 2002, provides a particularly interesting and ongoing example of modern nation building. In examining Timor-Leste and specific aspects of its nation building experience, this dissertation will make three related arguments. First, despite the fact that nation and state builders have tended to focus their efforts on the institutions of governance and state, more symbolic aspects of nationhood-including monuments, heroes, rituals and narratives-have also played an important role in strengthening Timorese national identity and fusing the state to the nation. Second, although nationalism scholarship has emphasized the role of political elites in the construction of a sense of national identity in the public imagination, Timor-Leste's experience suggests that the vision of the nation is not simply conceived by political elites, communicated down, and instilled in the public consciousness. Instead, the process there has been negotiated and even actively contested by various groups and institutions across society that have successfully asserted their own alternative views of the nation. Finally, a weak sense of Timorese national identity resulting from insufficient attention in the early post-independence period to the symbolic aspects of nationhood and active contests over a shared vision of the nation contributed to political crises and instability. Subsequent efforts to adopt symbols and promote a more inclusive sense of national identity, however, have begun to consolidate Timorese nationhood. Although each country is unique, Timor-Leste's experience suggests that greater attention to the symbolic aspects of nationhood and how they are contested in society may shed light on potential sources of instability in other countries similarly engaged in nation building efforts.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/100434
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Political Science



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