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Reproducing Life After Conflict: Population, Prosperity, and Potent Landscapes in Timor-Leste

Burke, Laura F. (2022) Reproducing Life After Conflict: Population, Prosperity, and Potent Landscapes in Timor-Leste. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.100076) (KAR id:100076)


This thesis explores how life is reproduced after conflict. It examines debates and contrasting approaches to reproduction, and how they interact. Based on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in the central mountain town of Maubisse, I explore how the state, health workers, Catholic Church, NGOs and local communities approach reproduction in the aftermath of the Indonesian occupation. In Timor-Leste reproduction is seen by the state and international organisations as a tool for national development. At the same time, reproduction is understood locally in Maubisse as a process which is distributed through social networks and across the spiritual landscape. Using a reproductive justice framework, I conceptualised these two differing but interlinked approaches as ‘reproductive developmentality’, and ‘distributed reproduction’. Through reproductive developmentality, reproduction is conceptualised as a biological life process that can be managed for development. Whereas ‘distributed reproduction’ acknowledges the ways reproduction is shaped by wider structural forces, such as conflict and colonialism, and acknowledges the desire to replenish the population and rejuvenate communities. These two approaches to reproduction after conflict collide causing frictions. However, they also merge in new and interesting ways as both approaches pursue different paths to prosperity. Engaging with feminist debates about reproduction, population, and environment I argue that the abundance of life, human and nonhuman are significant to communities in the post-conflict context.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Bovensiepen, Judith
Thesis advisor: Hodges, Matthew
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.100076
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2023 08:44 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2023 10:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Burke, Laura F..

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