Modern Portugal


Portugal has undergone a significant process of change over the last three decades. It has seen political change, marked by the end of forty-eight years of dictatorial rule and by the consolidation of democracy. It has also experienced a shift in the country's international relations with the delayed collapse of its colonial empire and its integration into the European Union. Economic and social change has taken place, with Portugal changing from a backward, socially underdeveloped country into a modern nation. The aim of this book is to present a panorama of that process of change and to examine it as part of the evolution of Portuguese politics and society in the twentieth century.

Following the consolidation of the liberal order during the second half of the nineteenth century and significant pressure for democratization during the first years of the twentieth century, democratic rule succumbed to a long period of authoritarianism with the consolidation of the Estado Novo under António de Oliveira Salazar in the 1930s. The Portuguese dictatorship, which, along with the Franco regime in Spain, survived World War II, was toppled only by Portugal's military in 1974. The first chapter of this book focuses on these events, providing a brief introduction to the social and political change that continued from the turn of the twentieth century until the 1970s.

Chapter 2, by Valentim Alexandre, addresses a key issue in twentieth-century Portuguese history: the colonial question. With the end of the Brazilian Empire in 1822 and the close of the nineteenth century in particular, the African colonial question became a central element in Portuguese politics, dominating the political arena until the transition to democracy and decolonization in the 1970s.

The colonial question also figures in Nuno Severiano Teixeira's discussion of foreign policy in chapter 3, given that it was undoubtedly the central issue in Portugal's foreign relations until the 1970s. In assessing Portuguese foreign policy, this chapter covers the period between Portugal's participation in World War I and its accession to the European Community in 1986.

The following two chapters, by Fernando Rosas and J. M. Brandão de Brito, respectively, trace the evolution of the Portuguese economy. Rosas focuses primarily on the political economy of the 1930s and 1940s. Brandão de Brito examines the economic liberalization of the 1960s, a process marked by the country's membership in the European Free Trade Association and its treaty of association with the European Economic Community.

Many of these chapters refer to the transition to democracy in 1974 as a watershed event in the process of national political change. Chapter 6, by Manuel Braga da Cruz, is therefore dedicated to its analysis. The process of transition itself, as well as the years 1974 and 1975, have been the subjects of an immense body of academic work; this was also the period subjected to intense scrutiny by the media later in the 1970s. For this reason, it was deemed important to extend the analysis, exploring the process of democratic consolidation and the evolution of the Portuguese political system to the present day.

The military played a central role in the overthrow of the authoritarian regime and the construction of a new political order. Chapter 7, by Maria Carrilho, examines how the military was distanced from the political arena from the end of the 1970s on. It also analyzes the Portuguese population's attitude toward the military and defense matters.

With chapter 8, by João Ferreira de Almeida, the analysis shifts to a study of change in the structure and values of Portuguese society over the last twenty years, a change strongly marked by a qualitative leap in the process of urbanization and deruralization.

Chapter 9, by Virginia Ferreira, provides a general picture of the situation of women in Portugal, as well as the relevant social and political changes occurring from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. Chapter 10, by Maria Ioannis Baganha, focuses on emigration, a key factor in Portuguese society, paying particular attention to the period after 1945.

The last three chapters are dedicated to the theme of cultural change, which is rare in books of this nature. Chapter 11, by Nuno G. Monteiro and the editor, focuses on a theme that has been very dear to key sectors of the national elite throughout this century, that of national identity. João Camilo dos Santos analyzes contemporary Portuguese literature in chapter 12.

It is curious that although it is traditionally taught at U.S. universities, and although some Portuguese writers, such as José Rodrigues Miguéis and Jorge de Sena, have lived in the United States for long periods of time, contemporary Portuguese literature is still little known in the Anglo-Saxon world, in contrast with Continental Europe. Interest appears to be increasing, however, as witnessed by the recent wave of translations (of the poet Fernando Pessoa and contemporary writers José Saramago and António Lobo Antunes, for example). A number of publications on Portuguese literature and language have emerged, such as the Luso-Brazilian Review of the University of Wisconsin Press, the Gávea-Brown from Brown University, and the more recent Santa Barbara Portuguese Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Chapter 13, by João Pinharanda, examines twentieth-century Portuguese art from a comparative perspective. Apart from a few international exhibitions and a few Portuguese painters and sculptors who have gained international recognition, recognition for Portuguese art outside the country has been only sporadic, and its hold has been tenuous. These are some of the reasons which led me to include chapters on these topics, in the hope that this book might be useful to a wider public.

Finally, Nancy Bermeo has written a conclusion and summary, in which she examines the transition to and consolidation of democracy in Portugal as part of the "third wave" of transitions to democracy in the world at large.

In some of the areas explored in this book, such as comparative politics, political economy, or international relations, Portugal already figures as part of the curriculum in North American universities. The same cannot be said of history or the humanities, however, from which Portugal is notably absent. In the last few years, however, new journals, study centers, and courses have focused on the Lusophone world and have contributed to the development of these areas of study. The Portuguese Studies Review, published at the University of New Hampshire by Douglas L. Wheeler, or the Camões Center Quarterly of the Camões Center at Columbia University, directed by Kenneth Maxwell, have been making important contributions to the study of Portugal and the other Lusophone countries in the United States and elsewhere.

The establishment in the 1980s of the Luso American Development Foundation (FLAD), an institution created specifically to foster scientific and cultural relations between Portugal and the United States, has also strengthened the field. The numbers of Portuguese scholars at North American universities, particularly at the masters or doctoral levels, has increased significantly. Contracts and agreements with North American universities and research centers have also increased notably. Further evidence of a rapidly developing field of study is provided by the creation of exchange, teaching, and research programs, such as those opened at Brown, Berkeley, Stanford, and Princeton, and by the consolidation of a network of contacts with Portuguese universities and the establishment of bilateral programs between North American and Portuguese universities.

The project that led to the publication of this book originated in a conversation with Professor Peter Stansky at Stanford University during my stay as visiting professor in the Department of History in 1992-93. SPOSS was planning to publish a series of books on recent developments in various European countries, and a book on Portugal was thought to be necessary. Given the lack of books in English on contemporary Portugal, however, I felt it would be important to include an analysis of the twentieth century as a whole, rather than limiting the book to only the most recent developments in the country.

On my return to Portugal, I invited some historians, sociologists, political scientists, and specialists in arts and literature to participate in this collective work. I would like to thank them for their contributions to this volume. As is always the case, I regret not having been able to achieve all the objectives initially laid out; I think, nevertheless, that the topics developed in these chapters provide a good basis for further study by a wider English-language readership in the various fields and disciplines of the social and human sciences.

Of course, with a book of this nature, there are many people to thank. I would first like to acknowledge the support of the FLAD, which was efficient and lacking in bureaucratic delay, a rare thing in Portugal. Without its support, this work would not have been possible. I would also like to acknowledge the support of the Camões Institute for the services it provided to the publisher which, we hope, will permit the wider dissemination of this book. The help of Alexandra Barahona de Brito, who translated and edited the book, was also decisive, particularly in light of the time constraints under which we all worked.

I would also like to acknowledge the valuable comments and suggestions of the anonymous reader. They were invaluable, not only for the revisions of some of the chapters, but also by enabling us to adapt the material for a nonspecialist readership with limited knowledge of Portugal. Last but not least, I would like to thank Nancy Bermeo and the Institute of International Studies, Princeton University, for the epilogue to this book, for the magnificent hospitality offered to me at Princeton, and for the excellent working conditions and the stimulating intellectual environment at the IIS, where I completed this project.

António Costa Pinto

Lisbon, July 1997

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