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The Fate of 'Backwardness'

Portuguese Expectations over Modernisation

Catarina Frois

In Portugal, terms such as 'modernisation', 'progress' and 'development' are continually invoked by a wide range of social actors, representing the right path and ultimate goal of all political and social change, but on the other hand conceal the actual truth that, to use Latour's expression: 'We have never been modern'. The result is that the demand for modernisation is accompanied by the parallel reification of 'backwardness'. Alluding to Portugal's peripheral condition, to its distance from the rest of Europe and so forth, is part of common everyday discourse, and the country is typically portrayed as a kind of European backwater, forever lagging behind more advanced states. This article aims to present and discuss how backwardness and modernisation are recurrently present in political discourse as a leitmotiv for social, economic and cultural change and the way it is incorporated into a broader and rooted self-representation of the Portuguese modus vivendi and national features.

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Heloísa M. Perista and Pedro Perista

This paper is organised into six main parts: first, this introduction outlines some general features of the Portuguese labour market; the second part deals with the main characteristics of employment relations; part 3, ‘Working time ’, provides some further observations regarding employment, focusing on the number and distribution of working hours, and on workers subjective considerations; part 4, ‘Income security ’, analyses a number of indicators concerning remuneration and social protection; part 5, ‘Forms of care leave ’, further develops the issue of social protection in its specific relation to leave for care purposes, and the possibility of combining care responsibilities with professional activity; finally, part 6 discusses the issue of flexicurity in Portugal, and its trends. It should be noted that,due to the unavailability of harmonised European data for all the relevant issues, we have had to resort to national data. However, for some indicators (fortunately few), it was not possible to gather the appropriate data. In these cases, the unavailability of data is referred to in the text.

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“Aren't You Looking for Citizenship in the Wrong Place?”

Islamic Education, Secularities, and the Portuguese Muslim

José Mapril

This article examines the relation between secularities, technologies of the self, and citizenship through an ethnography of Islamic education in Portugal. For the Islamic Community of Lisbon, the main institutional representative of Islam in Portugal, religious education is about the formation of religious subjects and the creation of embodied dispositions in relation to Islam. But it is also about being able to explain to others, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, what Islam is. This project for Islamic education has to be understood, I will argue, in the context of the production of a public Islam, secularized and liberal, that is tied to claims to citizenship made in Portuguese society for more than 60 years. While these discursive formations are partly a way to counteract stigma, it is also essential to understand them within the creation of a post-confessional Portuguese society. For members of the Islamic Community of Lisbon, supporting a project of secularization of the public sphere in such a historical context is a way to affirm their belonging.

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Traveling and Power

A Portuguese Viceroy's Account of a Voyage to India

João Vicente Melo

More than a mere travel diary the account written by Francisco Raimundo Moraes Pereira of the voyage of the Portuguese viceroy Francisco de Távora to India offers an interesting description of how the long journey between Lisbon and Goa was the first stage of a long process that transformed an aristocrat into an alter ego of the monarch. This article explores how Moraes Pereira combined a travel diary, with detailed notes on the daily life of the Carreira da India, and a panegyric concerned in fabricating an ideal image of a viceroy.

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Social Quality in Portugal

Reflecting on the Context and the Conditional Factors

Heloísa Perista, Pedro Perista and Isabel Baptista

Emphasising the ‘dialectic of self-realisation and the formation of collective identities’, the social quality theory becomes operative through four distinct, though interrelated, conditional factors: socio-economic security, social cohesion, social inclusion and social empowerment. Needless to say, such a formulation intends to create the grounds for a theory highly sensible to societal change. This article intends to give account of that societal change over the last few years on the grounds of the Portuguese historical context, and focusing on specificity reflected by the national context of social quality in comparison with the European (EU-15) context. This article comprises three main sections. The first one presents the relevant aspects of the Portuguese context regarding social quality. The second section summarises the key findings reflecting the specificity of the national situation regarding the four conditional factors of social quality and its domains. The third and last section reports a good practice and points out possible ways to stimulate social quality in the country.

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Refugee Hospitality Encounters in Northern Portugal

“Cultural Orientations” and “Contextual Protection”

Elizabeth Challinor

This article discusses the legal and institutional framework of refugee hospitality in Portugal. This sets the context for an analysis of how hospitality encounters take place in northern towns between asylum seekers, refugees, voluntary hosting institutions, public services, and volunteers. The aim is to enquire into the conflicting expectations, morals, and values of these different people and institutions, and into how they are managed and negotiated in practice. Through focusing on the “moral subjectivities” of individuals, the data elucidates the tensions that arise between charity- based and rights-based approaches, how misunderstandings arise and are avoided through engaging in “contextual protection,” and how linear transitions from hospitality to hostility cannot be presumed.

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Video Surveillance in Portugal

Political Rhetoric at the Center of a Technological Project

Catarina Frois

This article gives a detailed account of the political processes and stages involved in the implementation of video surveillance devices in two major Portuguese cities, Oporto and Lisbon. It seeks to draw two main conclusions regarding the introduction of these systems in public areas and the developments that they have undergone over the period under analysis. The first is that installing these devices reflects a political response designed to provide a hasty solution to a social phenomenon—fear—that is largely subjective. The second is that the generalized perception as to the uncertainty of the effectiveness of these systems explains the lack of consistency and coordination in their implementation. The article concludes by discussing fear and insecurity in the context of concerns for a more efficient justice system.

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Miriam Shadis

This article examines a series of wills created by members of the royal family of Portugal over three generations, from the mid-twelfth to the mid-thirteenth century. Wills served different functions depending on the political context of their makers: fundamentally pious documents, expressing hopes for salvation, they also worked to shape the political future of the realm. Above all, these wills demonstrate certain features of material life and the deep personal connections enjoyed by members of this large and fractious family.

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Ana Prata

Despite recent interest in port issues by researchers across a variety of disciplines, the field of port studies in Portugal would still benefit from a sustained research effort on the part of the academia. There is still much ground to be broken, but the historical picture of Portuguese ports is not as bleak as it was in the 1980s. Even though the future is bright, gaps remain. This article presents existing works and recent trends of research and explores limits and understudied paths.

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Ruy Llera Blanes

In this article, through a set of ethnographic vignettes from fieldwork conducted in Angola since 2015, I discuss the political semantics of crisis and austerity, and simultaneously outline an itinerary of a “traveling austerity” between Portugal and Angola, exposing the interconnectedness and mutual binding of both political and economic contexts. Invoking stories of migrant workers in Luanda and the work of local “financial activists” protesting against financial inequality in Angola, I question the relevance of national-based approaches to austerity politics, explore conceptualizations of austerity beyond its “original,” mainstream Eurocentric setting, and argue towards the necessity of analyzing transnational intersections in the study of austerity.