Lusotropicalist entanglements: Colonial racisms in the postcolonial metropolis

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No other form of cultural common sense has enjoyed more widespread circulation in postcolonial Portugal than what Miguel Vale de Almeida has called "‘generic’ Lusotropicalism” (2004, 63). Although not strictly of Gilberto Freyre’s invention, nor the appropriation of his thought from the 1950s onward by Antônio de Oliveira Salazar’s fascist-colonialist regime, the idea that Portuguese colonialism had at its basis not the violence of racism but an intimacy garnered through cultural and racial miscegenations experienced a culturalist revival throughout the 1990s. Its recurrence in political and academic discourse, in mass media, and in popular culture turned Lusotropicalism into “un authentique trésor national, prompt à devenir le vecteur d’une identité collective” (an authentic national treasure ready to become the directive of a collective identity; Geffray 1997, 371). It could be argued that it was this identitarian thrust that led to the “ethnicization of the majority," noted by Boaventura de Sousa Santos in relation to Etiènne Balibar’s argument about the response to immigrants in France and other European countries (Santos 1994, 128). Decolonization in 1975 forcing an estimated 800,000 people, especially from war-stricken Angola and Mozambique, to take temporary or permanent refuge in Portugal; membership in the European Union (EU) in 1986; and commemorations of the fifth centenary of the so-called Discoveries in the following decade all encouraged a host of discourses and debates over the issue of Portuguese national identity.2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGender, Empire, and Postcolony
Subtitle of host publicationLuso-Afro-Brazilian Intersections
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781137340993
ISBN (Print)9781137343413
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


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