SILVA, Kelly C.. Reciprocity, recognition and suffering: Political mobilizers in Independent East Timor. in: Vibrant – Virtual Brazilian Anthropology, v. 5, n. 2. July to December 2008. Brasília, ABA. Available at http://www.vibrant.org.br/issues/v5n2/kelly-c-silva-reciprocity-recognition-and-suffering/
The purpose of this article is to discuss some of the values that have been mobilized as a source of political legitimacy in East Timor since the restoration of independence. To do so, it uses as a principal analytical anchor the campaign activities held in the realm of the first round of presidential elections in the country in April 2007. They are placed in perspective through a comparison with other moments of political conflict. By means of ethnographic observation of electoral phenomenon rallies, radio and television programs and journalistic coverage I seek to identify some of the moral and sociological principles on which modern political authority is claimed in the country by the different groups in its elites. Among other things, I highlight the centrality of the veterans of the Falintil in this field. This fact, associated to the discussion of the public performances of the various candidates during the campaign, is seen as an indicator of the importance that ideas and values such as suffering, recognition and reciprocity occupy in the repertoire of contemporary Timorese political culture. I also present a hypothesis about the mechanisms through which the capilarization of modern institutions such as political parties and the Nation State, have taken place in the country: by means of alliances between the cosmopolitan urban elites and local authorities, mediated by veterans of the resistance.
Keywords: East Timor, political culture, elections, recognition, reciprocity.