Foho versus Dili: The political role of place in East Timor national imagination

Kelly Silva


This article discusses aspects of the topogenic processes involved in the East Timor nation building. Foho (mountains) and Dili are so presented as particular places, devised as products of long-lasting government practices in Timor. Based on the controversies surrounding marriage prestations in the contemporary Dili, the representations projected onto the foho are explored. I argue that the mountains are characterized, among others things, as the loci of “usos e costumes” (customs), of sacred lands and objects, of origin houses, of customary law, and of the ancestors to whom most East Timor people are related and where a series of required rituals are performed to maintain the normal flow of life. As in many other territories that were colonized belatedly, we see in East Timor the urban/rural, town/hinterland oppositions at work which resulted from colonial bifurcate State. While placing  such oppositions on a comparative perspective with Oceanic and South Eastern Asian countries, I also claim that they are the base for the politics of custom that have been re-emerged in the post-colonial East Timor.

Texto completo:



  • Não há apontamentos.

Direitos autorais 2017 REALIS | Revista de Estudos AntiUtilitaristas e PosColoniais - ISSN: 2179-7501

Creative Commons CC Atribuição Não comercial, sem derivação 4.0.