East Timorese Multiple Belongings: The International Relations of East Timor and the Application to ASEAN
Time & LocationSession 3
Wed 13:30–15:00 Room 1.502
- Nuno Canas Mendes University of Lisbon
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- ASEAN and Timor-Leste: Rationalities, (Des)integration and Imagined Communities Paulo Castro Seixas University of Lisbon
Timor-Leste’s first official application to the regional grouping ASEAN took place in the year of 2011. Hence, within this paper we provide an analysis of the structure of application as a test-case to polarization and fragmentation in the competing regional (des)integration process. As a small country in which the elites build much of their status and power (cultural capital) through outside networks, the social ‘distinction’ is played through small differences in which ‘outside’ resources are brought ‘inside’ (inside and outside are fundamental sociological concepts to understand Timor-Leste’s society) in a continuous competing and translation process. A small state (and particularly an island small state) is constrained by several factors. In the case of Timor-Leste this leads to the assumption that the democratic patterns of the country - in the midst of autocratic regimes – appear as constraints in the context of ASEAN, following Elias’ concept of the standards of civilization. Thus, there is an effort to compensate and overcome these through a constant negotiation. Timor-Leste is an evidence of such negotiations in the global realm being both strength and a weakness which must be considered in the process.
- The “Readiness” of Timor-Leste: Narratives About the Admission Procedure to ASEAN Nadine Lobner University of Lisbon
The following paper is based on an empirical research with an inductive approach about the admission of Timor-Leste to ASEAN. We examined a corpus of international newspapers (N=48) which forms a debate over this case on the internet. The articles are reproduced in English and are currently the most representative form of debating the membership delay which takes place since 2011. Throughout the observation of our gathered data, we discovered one main narrative that is reproduced by several agents/spokespersons: The Readiness of Timor-Leste to join the Southeast Asian grouping. Hence, built through three rationalities (preparedness, ambivalence, conflict), the Narrative of Readiness reveals a common sense amongst the agents. Therefore, we propose an International Imagined Community in the making - even though the delay of the Timor-Leste admission to ASEAN still raises further questions.
- Timor-Leste’s Membership to ASEAN: The Political Process and its Discontents Nuno Canas Mendes University of Lisbon
This paper presents a chronology of the political process of the ASEAN membership for Timor-Leste since resistance in times of the Indonesian occupation. Furthermore we will explore the main turning points of this chronology in a reflexive way, which we consider as internal and external discontents. By analysing internal discontents we disclose the political framework of Timor-Leste and the elite visions on Timor-Leste’s integration in ASEAN. Through the external discontents, the ASEAN perspective on the admission procedure will be revealed, its fears and doubts.
Following this, we will elaborate on international territorial integrations of Timor-Leste as eventual global-and-local identity choices for Timor-Leste (ASEAN – Commonwealth – CPLP- SPF/PIF/MSG). It is explored how these global-and-local choices may represent fragmented polarized options in actions and representations. Furthermore, we consider that this situation may represent an epitome of the region itself and is jeopardizing Timor-Leste candidacy to ASEAN.
This panel intends to discuss the place of East Timor in international relations and its political and economic relations with Australia, Indonesia, China, Portugal and CPLP (the Community of Portuguese Language Countries). Bearing in mind the multiple belongings of East Timor between Southeast Asia, the Pacific and the Lusophone connexion, the panel will explore the diplomatic and strategic aspects of these relations and its impact on East Timorese politics and economy. In this framework of analysis, we will focus on the main goal of the country’s foreign policy: the application to ASEAN - a process which started in 2011 and is still being further delayed with no end in sight. The panel is open to discuss constraints and opportunities of the admission procedure as well as the various ‘players’ taking part within this ‘game’.
The aim is to contribute to a reflection on the impact of the membership, both internally as well as regionally, grounded in several scientific areas and open to a diversity of methodologies.