Accepted paper:

The Rasa of Belonging: Youth and Post Colonial Timor Leste


Angie Bexley (ANU)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the engagement of 'rasa' or 'feeling within the heart' (Geertz 1973) in the politics of belonging in Timor Leste during the early years of Independence (2002-2005) by focusing on emotional articulations and mediations of young Timorese.

Paper long abstract:

This paper looks at the politics of emotion and belonging in the early years of Timor Leste's Independence (2002-2005). I focus on the younger generation, known in the Timorese lingua franca as Geração Foun, and their efforts in the production of rasa as an assertion of national belonging. Phenomenological accounts of rasa, as offered by Geertz (1973) incorporate the senses and an emotional 'feeling within the heart' which play a crucial role in the 'surfacing' of individual and collective bodies. Here, I look at young Timorese' negotiations of certain emotional and bodily codes, in particular; enjoyment, guilt and suffering in the production of rasa which is at the heart of the Geração Foun's declaration of rightful ownership of and belonging in the post-colonial nation state.

panel P13
Senses and citizenships: contestations over national and global identities, resources, and forms of belonging