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Boaventura de Sousa Santos

Magazine Art + Culture | 02 Mar 2016



“Portugal has no destiny. It has past, it has present and it has future”.This is one of the 11 views expressed by Boaventura de Sousa Santos in By Alice’s Hand – Society and Politics in Postmodernity, dating from 1994 now, but which the sociologist still maintains in continuing to oppose what he designated as “national whining” – “a discourse of decadence and disbelief”, which, “when it projects a positive idea of the country it does so in an elitist and unfocused manner and for this reason it is always on the verge of frustration, collapse and of resentment”.


It is against this ritual of lamentation, this prolonged rigmarole of regret, that Boaventura de Sousa Santos expresses his thoughts. With a very particular vision of Portugal and the Portuguese, far from believing that the country is inevitably condemned to passivity, the sociologist considers that the attitudes and ways of being in the world of the Portuguese are due in particular to the semi-peripheral position that the country has had over the centuries and to the fact that it is a country of “intermediate development”, integrated in a European Union which increasingly moves away from its initial goal, the “great dream of a united Europe”, and which has itself as the centre of the world. (…)

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Text: Paula Monteiro
Photos: CES

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