Title: Redemptive Legacies: Post-Conflict Social and Economic Recovery in Timor-Leste
Speaker: Andrew McWilliam (Western Sydney University)
Place: Tonan Tei, 2nd Floor, Inamori Building
Date: 11 December 2019
A major challenge facing contemporary East Timor is the pressing need to find rewarding employment opportunities for the 20,000 young Timorese who enter the workforce every year. The absence of manufacturing industries and constrained private sector results in high unemployment and growing disaffection among youthful aspirants who no longer wish to pursue near subsistence agriculture in home villages. In a telling statistic on Timor-Leste’s working-age population between 15–64 years of age (660,000 people), fully 42 percent are classified as ‘unemployed, unpaid household workers, informal labour, retired, or not seeking work’ (Scheiner 2015). In this context, opportunities for trans-national labour migration have become highly popular and sought after options. In this presentation, I discuss the emergence of a thriving informal pattern of circular labour mobility out of Timor Leste to the United Kingdom, and the beneficial impact it is having on source communities and households.
Andrew McWilliam is Professor of Anthropology in the School of Social Science at Western Sydney University. He is a specialist in the anthropology of Southeast Asia with ethnographic interests in Eastern Indonesia and Timor-Leste as well as Northern Australia.
His current research include processes of social and economic recovery in Timor-Leste and a collaborative project on household vulnerability and the politics of social protection in Indonesia. He is the editor of The Australian Journal of Anthropology and co-editor of, The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Timor-Leste (Routledge 2019)
Chairperson: Dr. Andrey Damaledo, CSEAS