PhD project: Society, Community and Peacebuilding in Aileu

Posted: 7-23-12

I am studying a PhD in the field of peace studies, which broadly speaking looks into social life in Aileu from a peacebuilding perspective.

There are four main areas which I believe comprise Aileu society today, and which I am focusing on; traditional culture, religion, economisation and party politics. The interaction between these realms of social influence have been extremely interesting to explore. In doing so, I have been reflecting on the fields of:

Social philosophy – mainly focusing on the ideas of social cohesions, social capital, civil society and building a sense of community, inspired by Rousseau, Tonnies, Benedict Anderson, Chris Bryant, Ulrich Beck.
Anthropology – Mambai culture, inspired by the work of Elizabeth Traube, particularly ‘Cosmology and Social Life: Ritual Exchange Among the Mambai of East Timor’
Peacebuilding – conflict transformation school, specifically from Johan Galtung and John Paul Lederach.
and Political theory and the social consequences of post-conflict liberal democratisation and modernisation, Anthony Giddens, Loic Wacquant, CB MacPherson.

Over the last three years I have been exploring these areas in Aileu, based on qualitative (interviews, observations and fieldnotes) and quantitative (survey questionnaires) research.

For further information or any interest you may have in the project, please contact me, Paddy Tobias, on



Tobias, P. forthcoming, “Keeping Community: Traditional culture and implications for maintaining peace in Aileu’s post-conflict society”, in Cultivating Peace: Context, Practices and Multidimensional Models.

Tobias, P. forthcoming, “Modernisation in Timor Leste: The “Community” at Stake”, in The Love of Education: Learning to Live Together, Bangkok: UNESCO, Asia-Pacific Programme of Educational Innovation for Development.

Tobias, P. & Walsh, A. 2013, “Emerging Political Apathy in Post-War East Timor”, East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin. (

Tobias, P. 2012. “Maintaining a Civic Nation: Social Cohesion in Timor-Leste.” In New Research on Timor-Leste, ed. M Leach, NC Mendes, AB da Silva, B Boughton, and A da Costa Ximenes, 330–335. Melbourne: Swinburne Press. (