Timorese talking back
The semiotic construction of chronotopes in the Timor Sea protests
Taking the dispute between East Timor and Australia over their maritime boundary as an illustrative context, this article discusses the role of semiotic resources in constructing chronotopes of protest. Reflecting first on language choice in urban protests during East Timor’s struggle for independence, the paper goes on to analyse the deployment of material and virtual resources in East Timorese-led demonstrations against the Australian government’s stance in the dispute. Using ‘entanglement’ as a structuring metaphor, and looking at language choice, social and grammatical indexicality, imagery, embodied cultural capital, and the choreography of assembly, the paper explores how protesters constructed a set of chronotopes that drew on the injuries of the colonial past, and re-emplaced and re-framed them in the post-colonial present. The paper looks at the linguistic landscape of protest as a semiotic aggregate in which the periphery claims a voice and ‘talks back’ to the centre.
Keywords: linguistic landscape, Timor Sea, East Timor, Australia, maritime border, centre-periphery, chronotopes, entanglement
Published online: 16 March 2020
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