Development, foreign aid and post-development in Timor-Leste

Andrew McGregor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Post-development theories have successfully challenged many of the ways in which we think about development but have yet to substantially influence development practice. In this paper I explore what opportunities exist for applying post-development ideas within the current development apparatus of Timor-Leste. Four types of community-focused programmes are analysed: sectoral project-based initiatives, institutional capacity-building programmes, community partnerships and small grants programmes. While alternative opportunities are clearly shown to be present, it is argued that they are rarely realised because of the overwhelming priority to produce better agents of development, rather than those able to pursue 'alternatives-to-development'. The paper concludes by suggesting that the development apparatus itself may not be inherently faulted; instead this apparatus could be usefully utilised by those inspired by alternative imaginaries to pursue post-development goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-170
Number of pages16
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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