Overcoming secularism? Catholic development geographies in Timor-Leste

Andrew McGregor, Laura Skeaff, Marianne Bevan

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The Catholic Church has played a key role in the development of Timor-Leste since Dominican friars first began trading with the Timorese in the 16th century. Religious networks and spaces have been essential in delivering development services, while Catholic theologies have shaped how development is pursued and understood. In this paper we outline the changing contribution and character of the Catholic Church through three periods of Timor's tumultuous history-during colonialism, under Indonesian occupation and through independence-with a greater focus on the latter stages. We present the Timorese Church as a heterogeneous organisation that responds in both progressive and conservative ways to the socio-political contexts in which it is embedded. Our aim is to highlight the diverse religious development geographies that exist in Timor-Leste but which are marginalised within contemporary development planning and policy. Drawing upon post-development theory and performative research, we encourage debate about the role of religious institutions in inspiring 'alternatives-to-development'.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDevelopment perspectives from the antipodes
    EditorsSusanne Schech
    Place of PublicationAbingdon
    PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
    Number of pages18
    ISBN (Print)9780415721172
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Publication series

    NameThird world quarterly
    PublisherOxon Routledge

    Bibliographical note

    This chapter was originally published in Third world quarterly, volume 33, issue 6 (May 2012), p.1129-1146.


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