Symposium on Economic Diversity in Contemporary Timor-Leste

Economic Diversity in Contemporary Timor-Leste

The recently published open access collection Economic Diversity in Contemporary Timor-Leste (Leiden University Press, 2023) will be the focus of an online Symposium, 12 October, 4pm (Sydney time), organised by the Community Economies Research Network (CERN) Asia and Centre for Sustainable Communities, University of Canberra. 

Two of the three editors, Kelly Silva (University of Brasilia, Brazil) and Lisa Palmer (University of Melbourne, Australia), will present an overview of the introduction to the book and the third editor, Teresa Cunha (University of Coimbra, Portugal), will explore the role that ideas of productive work and abundance play in shaping understandings of what it means to live well in contemporary Timor-Leste. For more information about the Symposium, including registration, click here

In their introduction to the collection, Silva, Palmer and Cunha challenge the official narrative of Timor-Leste’s economy as impoverished and in dire need of development. The authors argue that this narrative is based on those things that can be easily measured (such as Gross National Income, and life expectancy at birth), while ignoring the diverse economic activities that take place within and between families, households, neighbourhoods and origin houses (uma lisan). 

A crucial element of these diverse economic activities is that they are attuned to the connections between humans and the world around (including the ancestral spirit world), thereby giving rise to economic relations based on obligation and reciprocity.

For the authors, giving more attention to these “‘hidden’ socio-economic and socio-ecological rationalities … might help reshape lives and livelihoods in more sustainable and life affirming ways.”

*** UPDATE ***

The Zoom recording of the Symposium is available here

The Zoom recordings from all the CERN-Asia Symposia are available here

Jenny Cameron