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Becoming LandownersEntanglements of Custom and Modernity in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste$
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Victoria C. Stead

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780824856663

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824856663.001.0001

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Land Titling and State Building in Postconflict Timor-Leste

Land Titling and State Building in Postconflict Timor-Leste

(p.126) Chapter 6 Land Titling and State Building in Postconflict Timor-Leste
Becoming Landowners

Victoria C. Stead

University of Hawai'i Press

In Timor-Leste, forms and patterns of connection to land have been transformed by the impacts of Portuguese colonialism, Indonesian occupation, and civil conflict, all of which have generated widespread displacement. Multiple bases for land claims now exist, and this has been the catalyst for a land claims collection and land titling process in the post-independence era. Between 2008 and 2012 a project called Ita Nia Rai (Tetum: Our Land), funded by US aid agency USAID, collected land claims in urban and peri-urban areas as a precursor to issuing land titles. Land titling and cadastral mapping processes privilege an understanding of land as property. In Timor-Leste, the Ita Nia Rai process also assumes and reinforces an equivalence between urban and modern, and rural and customary. Four case-studies of informants involved in the land reform process, however, reveal urban and peri-urban spaces as sites of dynamic interplay between customary and modern practices.

Keywords:   land reform, land rights, cadastral mapping, property, Ita Nia Rai, urban-rural

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