The book “Da ‘portugalidade’ à lusofonia” [From ‘portugalidade’ to lusophony], by Vítor de Sousa, published by Edições Húmus/CECS, reproduces much of the research developed in the homonymous doctoral thesis in Communication Sciences (specialty of Intercultural Communication) that he defended, in 2015, at the University of Minho, as well as its main developments and conclusions. With this thesis the author won in 2016 the Mário Quartim Graça Award from the Casa da América Latina [House of Latin America], which was distinguished as the best doctoral thesis, submitted to a competition in Social Sciences, in Portugal and in Latin America.
Vítor de Sousa’s research was supervised by Moisés de Lemos Martins, who prefaced the work, and says that the author “has a similarity to the one he had when he aimed at the figure of ‘portugalidade’, which interrogates the figure of ‘Lusophony’ ‘, of which the Portuguese never go out of their way”. In addition, the research is not limited to the mistakes (old and modern, Luso-tropicalists, neocolonial, or others), “rehearsing the possibilities of Lusophony, not only as a figure, but in its many aspects”. Regarding the haunting of the figure of ‘portugalidade’, which “exploits the figure of Lusofonia”, Vítor de Sousa affirms “there can be no lusophony with ‘portugalidade’”, which is even a contradiction.
The author reports the coinage of ‘portugalidade’ to Estado Novo, marking it between the 50s and 60s of the 20th century, so that the former colonies were seen by the UN not as autonomous territories, but as an integral part of the Portuguese territory provinces, which was corroborated by the parliamentary discourse of the Assembleia Nacional [National Assembly], from 1951 (date of the repeal of the Colonial Act), by the introduction of the word in the deputies speeches. All this strategy was aimed at fighting the independence movements that emerged in the old colonies. Portugal defended the belonging of these territories to Portugal, through its ‘historical destiny’. This fact would be underlined in the political discourse of ‘portugalidade’, with the assumption of Portugal, as a single and indivisible country: ‘Portugal do Minho to Timor’ [Portugal from Minho to East-Timor].
According to Vítor de Sousa, “The Portuguese are always reactivating Luso-tropicalism and does not help to erase the constraints in Portugal’s relationship with the ‘other’ of colonization,” which happens “even if Portugal tries to remove the ‘portugalidade’ of the nationalist sphere in which it was coined”. The inheritance of ‘portugalidade’ is, therefore, as a kind of interculturality on the contrary, resulting from the attempt of the Estado Novo to pretend to develop a dominant Portuguese artificial homogeneity.
Book technical sheet
Title: Da ‘portugalidade’ à lusofonia
Author: Vítor de Sousa
Book cover: António Modesto
1st edition: 2017, November
Legal deposit: 431000/17