[TimorLesteStudies] Article by Elizabeth Traube

Jennifer Drysdale jenster at cres10.anu.edu.au
Thu Mar 29 09:13:46 EST 2007

 From ETAN (www.etan.org)

>Unpaid Wages: Local Narratives and the Imagination of the Nation
>Author: Elizabeth G. Traube - Elizabeth G. Traube is Professor of 
>Anthropology at Wesleyan University
>DOI: 10.1080/14442210601161724
>Publication Frequency: 3 issues per year
>Published in:
>The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology,
>Volume 8, Issue 1 March 2007 , pages 9 - 25
>Formats available: HTML (English) : PDF (English)
>This paper explores how official nationalist discourse is 
>appropriated and reworked in local constructions. It draws on 
>ethnographic fieldwork in the district of Aileu, East Timor, 
>conducted before the Indonesian invasion and after the 1999 
>referendum. Bridging these two periods is a Mambai narrative 
>tradition about a Christ-like figure named Tat Felis, who comes to 
>Aileu with the first missionaries and is persecuted by local chiefs. 
>In different ways, the paper argues, Mambai have entwined the story 
>of the suffering inflicted on him by their ancestral chiefs with the 
>suffering endured by the people in the nationalist struggle. Such 
>narrativised ordeals evoke a cultural code of reciprocity in which 
>whoever suffers to bring something forth must be repaid. In 
>referencing their own enduring obligations to Tat Felis, people 
>implicitly or explicitly remind nationalist leaders that the nation 
>was purchased with their blood.
>Keywords: Official and Popular Nationalism; Narrative Tradition; 
>Prophetic Movements; Cargo Cults
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