Paper long abstract:
During the Indonesian occupation of East Timor, diasporic groups played a central role in the campaign for self-determination. The fight to free East Timor was at the core of the East-Timorese refugees' collective imagination and a sense of co-responsibility, fostered by a social discourse of collectivism, underpinned the political campaign. Orientation towards the homeland and political activism provided the East-Timorese refugees with a sense of locality and belonging. With the return of the homeland, however, the exiles were forced to reconsider what home was and to redefine their notion of locality. This paper, based upon ethnographic fieldwork with the East Timorese community in Australia, explores the process by which the refugees reproduced a sense of locality and belonging during the occupation years, as well as how this process led to the contrasting experience of an imagined, refined, nostalgic vision of home and the embodied, lived experience of home.
The local in times of change