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Title: Exploring Timorese Perspectives of the Australian/Timorese Friendship Agreements
Contributor(s): Ninnes, Fiona Marion (author); Spence, Rebecca  (supervisor); Boughton, Robert  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2011
Copyright Date: 2011
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Timor-Leste, independent since May 2002, is a relatively young and financially poor country. Friendship Agreements between Australian and Timorese communities have been growing in popularity since the agreements first began in 2000. Although the Timorese have often been portrayed as the beneficiaries of these agreements, this is the first research project to collect and analyse Timorese perspectives about them. This thesis is a qualitative study that draws on elements of critical modernist, poststructuralist and postcolonial frameworks. Data for this study was collected from focus group interviews, individual interviews, documents and participant observation in a conference. Critical discourse analysis was used as the main analytical approach and the data was analysed through conceptual lenses derived from three relevant bodies of literature – friendship theories, studies of international municipal links, and the theory and practice of partnerships for development. This study finds that one of the major ways that Timorese conceptualise friendship is in terms of reciprocity. However, reciprocity is missing from the majority of written agreements and, according to the Timorese contribution discourses, it has been missing from the outcomes of the agreements as well. Although Friendship Agreements were set up to differ from Sister Cities, little difference was found between them (and other differently-named international municipal links) in the way that they have been conceptualised, in the sort of successes they have achieved and in the sort of challenges they face. Furthermore, the majority of written agreements fail to use the kind of language that is found in the literature concerning authentic and ideal North-South partnerships. However, the majority of Timorese that were interviewed want the Australian/Timorese community friendships to continue into an untimed future. Since Timorese communities are directly affected by the implementation of the Australian/Timorese Friendship Agreements, exploring Timorese perspectives about the agreements is, and will continue to be, important to ensure that Timorese views are understood, acknowledged, valued, respected, and incorporated into the way the agreements are conceptualised, implemented and evaluated. This will ensure that the agreements become a means of Timorese empowerment rather than Timorese disempowerment.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 160607 International Relations
Rights Statement: Copyright 2011 - Fiona Marion Ninnes
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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