Dr. Sara Niner is undertaking a new study of masculinities in Timor-Leste that will involve accurately describing the history of masculinity in Timor framed by her previous work that assessed contemporary gender relations in this post-conflict society. Niner’s previous work has focussed on women and culture but this new study will describe and define notions of masculinity, including both positive and negative aspects. This study will deepen understandings of gendered social identities that men have accepted or internalised facilitating change to such negative aspects as violence against women. Furthermore, Dr Niner has started to document new counter-hegemonic expressions of masculinity and men’s activism targetted at addressing gendered violence.
In December 2014 Dr. Niner gave a Public Seminar about these ideas at the prestigious Centre for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University in New York
Militarised Masculinity in Timor-Leste
The new nation of Timor-Leste has suffered a recent history of conflict and the post-conflict period is notable for a “retraditionalization” or reassertion of prewar patriarchy and a persistent militarisation. A militarised male elite control state institutions and have established an aggressive mode of politics that disadvantages women and non-elite men. Post-conflict violence and gender-based violence are problems the contemporary society is grappling with and attempting to find solutions for. This new study of masculinities will accurately describe the history of masculinity in Timor, then assess the current state of gender relations in this post-conflict society including new counter-hegemonic expressions of masculinity.