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Title: The state, society and international interventions in Timor-Leste : creating conditions for violence?
Author: Engel, Rebecca Ellen
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 4602
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2015
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International peace and state-building interventions in conflict-affected states have been on the rise for decades. This research identifies and examines the mechanisms used by the international community in Timor-Leste and assesses the implications of their use for a nationally negotiated political settlement. This research considers the following mechanisms: the establishment of a UN transitional authority, use of aid conditionality and provision of technical assistance, and suggests that the interplay between highly complex intra-East Timorese relationships and expectations with very prescriptive and pervasive international interventions contributed to a deformed and dysfunctional political settlement. Three interrelated sub-themes are explored in support of this hypothesis: international development partners interrupted and appropriated the political settlement negotiation process; international development partners failed to analyse Timor-Leste's context-specific political economy and conflict dynamics; and 'technocratic' policy advice was used to erode the state's ability to act as an agent of development. The mechanisms used by the international community produced outcomes that distanced the population from the state and rapidly altered the structure of the economy without a transition strategy. The international community must therefore assume some responsibility for the resultant political crisis and violence in 2006. Within the context of increasing international focus on conflict-affected states, evidence from Timor-Leste provides a unique lens that demonstrated how donors can negatively impact the trajectory of political settlements by using inappropriate mechanisms. This research comprises an innovative effort to bring together wide-ranging East Timorese perspectives and diverse literatures to construct a nuanced explanation of how international actions influence key dynamics of power. Drawing on the author's extensive experience living and working in Timor-Leste, it bridges existing gaps between disciplines and seeks to provide an explanatory construct that can be of use to policy-makers and practitioners in other conflict-affected states.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral