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The Order of Ceremonial Government

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Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)

Abstract

The previous chapter argued for a new theoretical approach to colonialism as symbiotic relationship between the European and indigenous worlds. The concept of mutual parasitism called attention to the double reciprocations of hospitality and parasitic appropriation and to how doubles of unequal exchange might generate asymmetries of power. Hostility, it was also suggested, is not alien to the workings of parasitic dynamics. In fact, given the continuous state of war between Dili and the Timorese kingdoms, indigenous hostility seemed to prevail in Timor. Furthermore, as observed in the Introduction, the colonial establishment displayed dramatic traits of weakness. Portuguese Timor was an isolated dependency ran by a minimalist administration that struggled with extreme financial and military debility, and the enmity of the surrounding kingdoms. However, this did not signify that, under these conditions, political order and alternative processes of colonial rule and power did not exist in Timor. The state of apparent weakness and the hostility of the kingdoms also expressed an alternative form of government, whose force derived from the strength of the parasitic ties between the European and indigenous collectives, in the realm of justice and violence. It is the purpose of this chapter to explain the main epistemic strategies of inclusion that made this form of government possible. It seeks to expose these strategies as the principal theories according to which the workings of mutual parasitism were most crucially and distinctively framed and interpreted in Timorese and Portuguese terms. The intention is also to

Keywords

Colonial Rule Colonial Government Symbolic Power Worldly Affair Tribute System 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    East Timor is a diverse ethnic and linguistic territory. Geoffrey Hull has recently identified 16 indigenous languages. The East Timorese languages can in any case be classified into two distinct language families: the Austronesian and the TransNew Guinean, or ‘Papuan’. See Geoffrey Hull, ‘The Languages of East Timor. Some Basic Facts’, http://www.ocs.mq.edu.au/langs.html; Thomaz, De Ceuta a Timor, pp. 613–35; Cf. Arthur Capell, ‘Peoples and Languages of Timor’, Oceania, 14 (1943–44), 311–37; 15, 19–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Elizabeth Traube, Cosmology and Social Life. Ritual Exchange Among the Mambai of East Timor (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), ch. 3.Google Scholar
  3. See also Elizabeth Traube, ‘Mambai Perspectives on Colonialism and Decolonization’, in Peter Carey and G. C. Bentley (eds), East Timor at the Crossroads: the Forging of a Nation (London: Cassell, 1995), pp. 42–55.Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    Malae (malai, or malaia) is a Tetum term derived from the Malay melayu. The term malae could also designate Timorese who either by virtue of upbringing had become westernized, or by virtue of position close to European or Portuguese culture. This was the case of the moradores, as seen in the preceding chapter. On the term malae cf. Traube, Cosmology and Social Life, pp. 52–3, n. 2; Costa, Dicionário de Tétum-Português, p. 239; António de Almeida, ‘Presenças etnobotânicas brasileiras no Timor Português’, Memórias da Academia das Ciências de Lisboa (Classe de Ciências), XIX (1976), 158; Thomaz, De Ceuta a Timor, p. 623.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    This mythic incorporation seems to reveal a flexible version of Marshall Sahlins’s ’structure of the conjuncture’. Cf. Marshall Sahlins, Islands of History (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    Still, in the post-colonial present, communities of traditionally anti-Portuguese past can strategically reinvent their historical connections with the Portuguese in a more positive light. Cf. Andrea K. Molnar, ‘“Died in the service of Portugal”: Legitimacy of Authority and Dynamics of Group Identity Among the Atsabe Kemak in East Timor’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 37, 2 (2006), 335–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 15.
    Several professional ethnographers who conducted fieldwork in East Timor, in the 1950s-70s, have consistently explored this dimension of Timorese life. The classic study that established the importance of the Durkheimian theme of correspondence between cosmic and social orders in the study of Eastern Indonesian cultures is F. A. E. van Wouden, Types of Social Structure in Eastern Indonesia (The Hague: Nijhoff, 1968).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. See also the essays collected in James Fox (ed.), The Flow of Life. Essays on Eastern Indonesia (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  9. 18.
    António de Almeida, ‘Alguns aspectos antropológicos do Timor Português’, Memórias da Academia das Ciências de Lisboa (Classe de Ciências), XII (1968), 8.Google Scholar
  10. 19.
    António de Almeida, ‘Da origem lendária e mitológica dos povos do Timor Português’, Memórias da Academia das Ciências de Lisboa (Classe de Ciências), XIX (1976), 351.Google Scholar
  11. 22.
    Afonso de Castro, ‘Une Rébellion à Timor en 1861’, Tijdschrift voor Indische Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, XIII (1864), 391. [my emphasis]Google Scholar
  12. 29.
    From the Malay words sirih (betel) and pinang (areca), the Timorese term eventually signifies social communion. According to Thomaz, serapinão was also a local term used in the colonial period to traditionally refer to the finta tribute paid to the Portuguese. L. F. Thomaz, ‘Timor Loro Sae: Uma Perspectiva Histórica’, in AAVV, Timor. Um País para o Século XXI (Sintra: Atena, 2000), p. 34.Google Scholar
  13. 30.
    See M. I. F. Tamagnini, Diário de uma Viagem a Timor (1882–1883) (Lisbon: CEPESA, 2002), pp. 60–1; Celestino da Silva to MSNMU, 25 Jan. 1901, Lisbon, AHU, Macao and Timor, ACL_SEMU_DGU_1R_002_Cx 11, 1901–1904.Google Scholar
  14. 33.
    The position of Wehale as ancient ‘ritual female centre’ was legitimated by mythic narration and supported by a harvest tribute system. Its networks extended to East Timor still in the nineteenth century. Cf. James J. Fox, ‘The Great Lord Rests at the Centre. The Paradox of Powerlessness in European Timorese Relations’, Canberra Anthropology, 9, 2 (1982), 22–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 37.
    In particular, I here expand on the basic definition of praxiology as ‘the general theory of efficient action’. T. Kotarbinski, Praxiology. An Introduction to the Sciences of Efficient Action (Oxford and New York: Pergamon Press, 1965), p. 1.Google Scholar
  16. 44.
    Raphael das Dores, Como se Adquire a Fama ou História d’um Caluniado (Lisbon: Typ. J. G. Esteves, 191-), p. 72.Google Scholar
  17. 45.
    Typically, Timorese cosmogonies described a world originated from a sacred origin centre comprising a female/male ‘dualistic unity’ often depicted as one primordial pair, for instance, the ‘great mother and great father’. Cf. Traube, Cosmology and Social Life; and for sexual dualism: David Hicks, ‘Conjonction Féminine et Disjonction Masculine chez les Tetum (Timor, Indonésie Orientale)’, L’Homme, 94 (1985), 23–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 47.
    Pierre Bourdieu, Language and Symbolic Power (Cambridge: Polity, 1991), p. 164.Google Scholar
  19. 56.
    The Tetum term lulik could be applied virtually to every entity, from places and inanimate objects to living beings. For the term lulik, see Claudine Friedberg, Comment Fut Tranchée la Liane Céleste et Autres Texts de Littérature Orale Bunaq (Timor, Indonésie), Recueillis et Traduits par Louis Berthe (Paris: SELAF, 1978), p. 153Google Scholar
  20. António de Almeida, ‘Contribuição para o Estudo dos Nomes ‘Lúlik’ (Sagrados) no Timor de Expressão Portuguesa’, Memórias da Academia das Ciências de Lisboa (Classe de Ciências), XXI (1976–77), 121–47. Cf. Traube, Cosmology and Social Life, p. 143.Google Scholar
  21. 57.
    Portuguese flags were constitutive of the lulik heritage of Timorese communities until at least the second half of the twentieth century. For examples of the preservation of Portuguese flags in sacred houses: see Shepard Forman, ‘East Timor: Exchange and Political Hierarchy at the Time of the European Discoveries’, in Karl L. Hutterer (ed.), Economic Exchange and Social Interaction in Southeast Asia: Perspectives from Prehistory, History, and Ethnography (Ann Arbor: Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan, 1977), p. 108; Almeida, ’Contribuição para o estudo dos nomes ‘Lúlik’ (sagrados)’, 126–7, 134Google Scholar
  22. J. G. de Lencastre, ‘Marcos da expansão do império. Solor-Alor e Timor’, Boletim da Agência Geral das Colónias, 104 (1934), p. 15 Thomaz, De Ceuta a Timor, p. 652.Google Scholar
  23. For lulik heirlooms in general, see Brigitte Renard-Clamagirand, Marobo. Une Société Ema de Timor (Paris: SELAF, 1982), pp. 42, 44, 271; Friedberg, Comment Fut Tranchée la Liane Céleste, p. 270.Google Scholar
  24. 58.
    During the campaigns of 1896, second-lieutenant Duarte referred to the estilos of ‘flag washing’ (lavagem da bandeira) performed by the arraiais. Francisco Duarte, ‘Commando Militar de Thiarlelo, 31 Aug. 1896’, in Silva, Relatório das Operações de Guerra, p. 71. On these estilos see also A. F. Acácio Flores, Uma Guerra no Districto de Timor (Macao: Typ. Commercial, 1891), p. 19.Google Scholar
  25. 61.
    Cf. Cardoso de Carvalho, Governor of Timor, Oficio n. 57, 27 May 1881, Macao, AHM, AC, P-274; Celestino da Silva, Instrucções Para os Commandantes Militares (Macao: s.ed., 1896), p. 89; Hugo de Lacerda to MSNMU, 10 Aug. 1878, Lisbon, AHU, Macao and Timor, ACL_SEMU_DGU_RM_005_Cx 47, 1878.Google Scholar
  26. 65.
    Benedict R. O’G. Anderson, ‘The Idea of Power in Javanese Culture’, in Claire Holt et al. (eds), Culture and Politics in Indonesia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1972), pp. 1–70.Google Scholar
  27. 69.
    The word le’u exists in Tetum but conveys a different meaning. Perhaps the complex term lulik is closer to the meaning of le’u. See P. Middelkoop, Headhunting in Timor and Its Historical Implications, pp. 21–3; McWilliam, ‘Severed Heads that Germinate the State’, pp. 154–5; Andrew McWilliam, ‘Case Studies in Dual Classification as Process: Childbirth, Headhunting and Circumcision in West Timor’, Oceania, 65, 1 (1994), 63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 73.
    António Manuel Hespanha, Panorama da História Institucional e Jurrídica de Macau (Macao: Fundação Macau, 1995).Google Scholar
  29. 77.
    Cf. Ibid., pp. 52–3; Ana Cristina Nogueira da Silva, ‘Uma Justiça “Liberal” para o Ultramar?: Direito e Organização Judiciária nas Províncias Ultramarinas Portuguesas do Século XIX’, Revista do Ministério Público, 27, 105 (2006), 165–200.Google Scholar
  30. By the mid-1890s, the civilizing ideologies stimulated harder versions of Portuguese customary codifications in the African colonies. See Rui Pereira, ‘A Missão Etognósica de Moçambique’. A Codificação dos ‘Usos e Costumes Indígenas’ no Direito Colonial Português’, Cadernos de Estudos Africanos, 1 (2001), 127–77.Google Scholar
  31. 79.
    In Goa, the first codifications of local customs dated from the sixteenth century; others were to appear later. In Timor, a first official attempt to survey and codify Timorese usos e costumes with a view to support the administration of justice was undertaken in 1908–09, by recommendation of governor Eduardo Marques. See Ibid., pp. 6–7, 48–9; Luís da Cunha Gonçalves, ‘Direito Consuetudinário dos Indígenas de Timor’, Memórias da Academia de Ciências de Lisboa (Classe de Letras), I (1936), 203–4.Google Scholar
  32. 80.
    On this code and the problem of the colonial exercise of law according to usos e costumes in the nineteenth century Portuguese colonies, cf. Ana Cristina Nogueira da Silva, ‘“Missão Civilizacional” e Codificação de Usos e Costumes na Doutrina Colonial Portuguesa (Séculos XIX–XX)’, Quaderni Fiorentini per la Storia del Pensiero Giuridico Moderno, 33–34, II (2004–5), 899–921.Google Scholar
  33. 85.
    António Joaquim de Medeiros, ‘Missões em Timor’, Annaes das Missões Ultramarinas, II, 2 (1890), 105.Google Scholar
  34. 88.
    The use of the term estilo or estylo (pl. estilos) in Timor preserved the vernacular meaning of ‘custom’, ‘consuetudinary practice’, a lawful manner or style of doing something. In Tetum, it can also designate ‘sacrificial rites’ and any rite performed according to the manners and customs of communities. Cf. Machado, Dicionário Etimológico; António de Almeida, ‘Da Onomástica-Tabu no Timor Português—Antropónimos e Zoónimos’, in AAVV (ed.), In Memoriam Jorge Dias (Lisbon: JICU, 1974), III, p. 12; Costa, Dicionário de Tétum-Português.Google Scholar
  35. 89.
    Even after the replacement of the system of kingdoms for the suku system from 1912–13, this kind of blurring was preserved. This was visible to professional ethnographers in East Timor still in the 1970s. See David Hicks, ‘Unachieved Synchretism: the Local-Level Political System in Portuguese Timor, 1966–1967’, Anthropos, 7 (1983), 17–40; Elizabeth Traube, ‘Mambai Rituals in Black and White’, in Fox (ed.), The Flow of Life, p. 296, n. 12. The intertwinement of Portuguese colonial administration with the traditional holders of political or jural authority between 1912 and 1975 has also been observed in a recent survey of the Timorese political system. Recent ethnographic work on Timorese ‘traditional justice’ in the context of post-conflict processes of reconciliation also points (even if only in brief) to imbrications of Timorese customary justice with the Portuguese administration in the colonial period. Sofi Ospina and Tanja Hohe, ‘Traditional Power Structures and the Community Empowerment and Local Governance Project. Final Report’, Presented to CEP/PMU, ETTA/UNTAET and the World Bank, Dili Sept. 2001, http://info.worldbank.org/etools/docs/library/136160/tslg/papers.htmlGoogle Scholar
  36. Andrew McWilliam, ‘Introduction: Restorative Custom: Ethnographic Perspectives on Conflict and Local Justice in Timor’, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, 8, 1 (2007), p. 3.Google Scholar
  37. 94.
    ‘Authority will be called traditional if legitimacy is claimed for it and believed in by virtue of the sanctity of age-old rules and powers.’ Max Weber, Economy and Society (2 vols. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979), p. 226.Google Scholar
  38. 106.
    Apart from the Christian religious connotation of the term ‘ritual’ as opposed to the secular connotation of the term ‘ceremonial’, the two may be seen as equivalent, since both regard intense social occasions of connecting with sacred or charismatic values and powers of a specific group or society. Yet, in this chapter, for the sake of conceptual clarity, I use the term ‘ritual’ in the context of the rule over sacred affairs conducted by Timorese ‘ritual lords’, whereas ceremonial will be preferred to express the practice and management of estilos associated with the peculiar mode of ritual rule of Portuguese ‘jural lords’ over secular or worldly affairs. I may however refer to headhunting in colonial warfare as ’ritual’ or ‘ceremonial’ violence because, in that context, the two zones of rule closely intersected. Cf. Edward Shils, Center and Periphery. Essays on Macrosociology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), pp. 154–5.Google Scholar
  39. For a critique of the use of ‘ritual’ as concept in social sciences, see Philippe Buc, The Dangers of Ritual: Between Early Medieval Texts and Social Scientific Theory (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).Google Scholar
  40. 127.
    Clifford Geertz, Negara: the Theatre-State in Nineteenth-Century Bali (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980), p. 122.Google Scholar
  41. In the wake of Geertz, see also Clendinnen’s brilliant study of the Aztecs: Inga Clendinnen, Aztecs: An Interpretation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991). The importance of ‘political rituals’ for state-administration has also been explored by medieval historians of Europe.Google Scholar
  42. Cf. Jacques Le Goff, ‘The Symbolic Ritual of Vassalage’, in his Time, Work, and Culture in the Middle Ages (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), pp. 237–87.Google Scholar
  43. 129.
    In her ethnographic history of the Balinese kingdom of Klungkung, Wiener has correctly pointed out Geertz’s lack of critical analysis of Dutch colonial sources. Nevertheless, Wiener embraces an indigenocentric project, rescuing the indigenous traditional system and exploring the ultimate epistemological difference between Dutch and Balinese conceptions of power. Cf. Margaret J. Wiener, Visible and Invisible Realms. Power, Magic, and Colonial Conquest in Bali (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  44. 130.
    As Pina-Cabral suggested in his study of early nineteenth-century colonial Macao, such ‘equivocal compatibilities’ might compose mutually beneficial arrangements. Cf. João de Pina-Cabral, Between China and Europe: Person, Culture and Emotion in Macao (London: Continuum, 2002), ch. 5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Ricardo Nuno Afonso Roque 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Social SciencesUniversity of LisbonPortugal

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