Accepted Paper:

Dismissing development across West and East Timor  
Wendy Asche (Consultant Anthropologist)

Paper short abstract:

Frictions between groups in an international development project cannot easily integrate cultural, economic and political divisions as well as legacies of colonialism and war.

Paper long abstract:

Notions of upward linear development as part of the 'global project of modernity' are challenged by academics (inter alia: Ferguson 1995; Tsing 2005; Li 2007; Bulloch 2017) and the people who are targets of national and international development projects. I present a case study based on fieldwork in West Timor, Indonesia, which will exemplify some of the 'frictions' faced by local groups engaged in an international development project.

The project was intended to unite West and East Timor through cultural exchange and the construction of two museums in both locations. The inter-linkage was to be mediated through the shared material culture of weaving, involving NGOs from the two countries, facilitated by a Dutch museum.

The project's planned trajectory was hampered by conflicting expectations, excessive bureaucratic requirements, disparity in the political balance of organisations involved and Dutch, Indonesian and East Timorese historical legacies of colonialism and war.

Panel P03
Development interventions both vivifying and mortiferous: replacement, ruination and revitalisation in ecological and cultural systems