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Title: Inventing the veteran, imagining the state : post-conflict reintegration and state consolidation in Timor-Leste, 1999-2002
Author: Roll, Kate Christopher
ISNI:       0000 0004 5354 1767
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Conventional post-conflict state-building models approach disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration (DDR) programmes as a means for state actors to delegitimise non-state sources of power and centralise control over coercive power with the state. The programmes carry the promise of new lives for conflict actors and a new, modern and technocratic approach to the exercise of force; they are thus central to post-conflict transformation. However, this thesis calls into question the naturalisation of 'state' and 'conflict' actors in DDR models. Instead, it finds that DDR programmes create these categories and, in doing so, serve to mask and facilitate continuities in elite power. This thesis examines the case of Timor-Leste. In Timor-Leste, the country's new leaders - resistance actors cum state actors - have centralised legitimate power, while, at the same time, incorporated non-state, resistance-era networks and identities upon which their authority depends. The key technology through which this order has been established is a suite of reintegration programmes. In registering over a quarter of a million people and dispersing significant funds, this programme has emerged as a tool of governance. Again challenging the idea of a 'state' acting upon 'veterans', this thesis finds that these programmes constitute these identities. The act of defining non-state conflict actors who may no longer legitimately wield force also necessarily defines the category of state actors who may wield force. In asking what these programmes 'do,' this thesis rejects conventional readings of reintegration practices as security-driven or processes like registration as purely administrative challenges. As such, this study introduces a critical, new perspective on the political economy of post-conflict reintegration programmes. It supports its findings through a mixed methods approach, combining a robust, representative survey of over 220 former resistance members with ethnographic observation and 90 semi-structured elite interviews. This thesis is thus of relevance to those interested in DDR, conflict networks, and state-building.
Supervisor: Caplan, Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Conflict ; Return and reintegration ; Public policy ; National identity ; Pensions ; Post-conflict transitions ; reintegration ; veterans ; Timor-Leste