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Installing the insider “outside”: House reconstruction and the transformation of binary ideologies in independent Timor-Leste

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ABSTRACT

Across Timor-Leste the reconstruction of ancestral origin houses has been a focus of immense personal and financial efforts since the end of the Indonesian occupation in 1999. I explore the rebuilding and inauguration of origin houses in the village of Funar, reoccupied by residents after their forcible resettlement elsewhere for over two decades. Examining how experiences of violence and displacement can engender new modes of identification, I consider the disparate assumptions about the nature and number of houses that came to the fore during these events. By juxtaposing monist and dualist presuppositions implicit in rival claims, I develop existing anthropological approaches to binary ideologies to conceptualize the ideological transformations that characterize postconflict recovery.

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