Land and Gender in matrilineal Timor-Leste

NARCISO, VANDA, and MÁRIO TILMAN (2012). "Land and Gender in matrilineal Timor-Leste" Paper presented at the 9th annual conference of the HDCA, 5-7 September 2012, Jakarta, Indonesia.

There are few groups’ followers of the matrilineal system in the world but they are present in all continents, except in Europe. In Timor-Leste, the matrilineal organization social system is found among 3 ethno-linguistic groups and seems that, in spite of their resilience, some changes have been taken place in recent years due to some economic, socio and cultural changes. Two different kinship/social systems coexist in Timor-Leste, one patrilineal in force in the majority of the territory and one matrilineal in the regions with dominance of Búnaque, Tetum-Terik and Galoli ethno-linguistic groups. The idea behind this paper is to identify those features related to land that have been characterizing the matrilineal system of the Búnaque in Timor-Leste. To achieve its goals, this paper through, secondary and empirical data collected, analyses women’s reality in the Bunaque communities, relating land tenure with the gender roles performed.

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