05 November 2008

New Masters thesis: Thomas Stratton: Going Over Old Ground

Stratton, Thomas. (2008) Going Over Old Ground; How Security Sector Reform's
Component Discourses Can Help Bridge the Gap Between Theory and Practice.
Thesis-Master of Arts in Post-war Recovery Studies, Post-war Reconstruction
and Development Unit, Department of Politics, The University of York.


(Appears it is not yet on University of York thesis collection website)

The 2006 crisis in Timor-Leste was a bloody awakening to the cracks that had
begun to appear in the nation's security sector reform (SSR) programme. The withdrawal of
pro-Indonesian militias in 1999 and unparalleled executive powers granted to the UN were widely thought to provide an environment conducive to the successful construction and reform of a security sector. Instead, the security sector institutions that the UN created were ill-conceived and brought the country to the brink of civil war. The failure of the UN to establish a viable security sector in Timor-Leste necessitates an investigation into why, despite laudable objectives, SSR is encountering difficulties when put into practice. This paper seeks to address two questions that are at the core of the divide between theory and practice: What is the exact nature of the 'security' at the heart of SSR? In what form can SSR enhance the developmental process? The answers to these questions are sought through a re-examination of the SSR paradigm. The deconstruction of SSR into its component discourses reveals three important areas of contextual knowledge: the developmental 'state of society', salient threats in the perceptions of individuals, and appreciation of the informal sector.

Demonstrated through its application to the Timor-Leste case study, this framework provides a more subtle perspective of recipient countries. Crucially, the framework also generates context-specific answers to the questions posed above, and can ensure SSR is shaped to accommodate the challenges of the environment it encounters.

Table of Contents
Abstract 2
Figures and Tables 5
Acronyms 6
Preface 8
Acknowledgements 11
Authors Declaration 12

Chapter 1: A Snapshot of Timor-Leste 13
Physical Characteristics 13
East Timorese Society 16
The Politics and Major Political Actors in Timor-Leste 22
The Economic Terrain 24
External Issues 26
Conclusion 26

Chapter 2: Security Sector Reform in Timor-Leste 28
Origins of SSR 28
The 'security sector' and its role 29
Objectives and Implementation of SSR 31
An Examination of SSR in Timor-Leste 1999-2008 34
Conclusion 41

Chapter 3: Deconstructing SSR 43
Development 43
Democracy 46
Security 47
The Post-war Society 49
Institutions 50
Conclusion 53

Chapter 4: A new Perspective of Timor-Leste and its Security 56
The State of East Timorese Society 56
Threats According to the East Timorese 59
The Formation of Institutions in Timor-Leste 64

Chapter 5: Conclusion 72
A New Framework 73
Functional Analysis 74
Recommendations 75
Appendices 77
A: Research Methodology 77
B: List of Interviewees 81
C: Checklist for Semi-structured Interviews 84
D: Timeline - The UN in Timor-Leste 85
E: Map of Violence during 2007 Parliamentary Elections 86
F: Timor-Leste Projected Petroleum Revenue Profile, 1999-2041 87
G: Actors involved in the security sector 88
H: Pictures 103
Glossary 105
Bibliography 106

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