Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


School of International, Cultural and Community Studies


Faculty of Education and Arts


This thesis examines the form of reconstruction intervention known as 'nation building', through a case study of the United Nations led operation in East Timor that began in 1999. It examines how the idea of the nation and statehood first arose, and how these ideals are still prevalent in modern nation building interventions. The thesis also examines the weaknesses and ambiguities that have become associated with nation building, and how such weaknesses have found a common thread through subsequent interventions The thesis then uses the case study of the intervention in East Timor, dividing the operation in to three stages; the initial stabilising operation, the institution building phase, and the final withdrawal in 2002. The examination of these phases forms the central focus of the thesis, as such an assessment provides insight into the various challenges that accompany such operations. The thesis assesses the success of these different phases, and from this provides findings that give insight the causes behind the crisis of governance that arose within East Timor during 2006. From this the thesis will provide limited findings on what areas such interventions face particular challenges, and on the overall viability of nation building as a solution to state failure.