Reshaping Timorese State-Village Relations: New Environmental Narratives and New Spaces of Conflict (16373)
Significant research within the field of political ecology has already explored the livelihood impacts and associated conflicts manifest in different forms of biodiversity conservation. However, less has been researched regarding the deployment of new environmental paradigms for state-making, or the machinations of local adaptations to them. This paper explores the discursive dimensions of recent protected area management in Timor-Leste. It is demonstrated that state authority utilises powerful new (but little understood) scientific discourses to legitimise control over marginal areas where state institutions are weak. These processes seek to dislodge resilient local authority and associated understandings of such areas, even though they are imbued with social, cultural and livelihood values that already produce elements of sustainable environmental management. Inherent in this process is the goal of state supported capitalist penetration into regions that are primarily subsistence production. However, room remains for future localised appropriation of the biodiversity discourse to re-assert resource management claims and rights to bio-material.