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Structural power, agency and national liberation: the case of East Timor

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The struggle for independence in East Timor, which came to fruition in 1999, illustrates both that agency can be exercised in ways that change social structures and that changing structural relations are necessary for the effective exercise of agency. This paper presents a basic Marxist theoretical framework for analysing structural power, contrasting this with the understanding of structure developed by structurationists. It then examines the Timorese independence struggle at two crucial turning points, showing how differing structural contexts enabled different outcomes at those turning points.

Keywords: East Timor national liberation struggle; agency; geo-political economy; social theory; structural power

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-09-01

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