Spirit ecologies and customary governance in post-conflict timor-leste

Andrew McWilliam, Lisa Palmer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    In post-conflict Timor-Leste, the concepts of spirit ecologies and intergenerational wellbeing direct our attention to the ways in which Timorese people derive strength from house-based family networks as well as protective and productive spiritual relations with living nature. These practices of exchange resonate with a comparative body of research that has described similar 'spiritscapes' elsewhere in Southeast Asia and their relevance for social and environmental governance. Exploring the diverse ontologies of particular Timorese 'spirit ecologies' and their embedding in a concept of more-than-human 'intergenerational wellbeing', in this article we investigate the renewed significance of these 'house-based' practices for social and environmental governance in Timor-Leste. We argue that despite the challenges, multiple engagements of mutually appropriated, transgenerational debt obligations and ritually regulated forms of resource governance are emerging as cultural, and increasingly state-sanctioned, strategies aimed at rebuilding the social and environmental commons.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)474-505
    JournalBijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde (Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania)
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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