Cover - Competitive Nation-Building in Timor-Leste

Andre Borgerhoff

Competitive Nation-Building in Timor-Leste

With Particular Reference to the Discourse on the Postcolony’s ‘Language Tetralemma’ During the Years 2002-07

may 2012, 394 pages, paperback, size 225 x 155 mm
isbn 978-3-940132-47-5
series Das regionale Fachbuch


29,90 euro (D)
incl. VAT, plus shipping fees


Nation-building is a competitive practice – no matter how united a people were in their past struggle for independence, and no matter how convincingly pledges are made thereafter to preserve ‘national unity.’ In 2002, Timor-Leste became a sovereign state. Starting from scratch after decades of resistance war, protagonists of varying age, education, and political backgrounds had rather different ideas of building their new community – as the ‘Tetralemma’ of four formal languages illustrates in this book.

This study explores the enormous challenges and exciting dynamics faced by emerging postcolonial and post-conflict nations. It explains why popular expectations of inclusiveness and stake, so vital to the success of liberation movements, turn into potential sources for distress after independence. Through a combined analytical approach of nationalism, sovereignty, collective memory, and strategic groups theory, nation-building is defined as the interest and ideology-driven construction of identity which, after all, constitutes a primarily political process.



About the auhtor

Dr. Andre Borgerhoff graduated from the Department of Political Science, University of Münster, in Germany. His research project was funded by the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service. Andre was also the chairman of the German Timor-Leste Society (2004-12, and a member on the Asia Foundation's board of trustees (

Table of contents

Table of contents (PDF)


Internationales Asienforum 3-4/2013

Newsletter der Deutschen Osttimor Gesellschaft 2/2012 review »

Portal für Politikwissenschaft, 19 June 2013 review »