Retrospective ethnography on 20th-century Portugal: fieldwork encounters and its complicities

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Abstract

The present article seeks to promote an epistemological, but also a methodological, discussion around the importance of the dialogical moments stimulated by a ‘retrospective ethnography’ (Almeida 2007, 2009) in two different studies on 20th-century pre- and post-revolutionary Portugal. The first of these explores the memories of resistance amongst Portuguese working women in the Lisbon south banks during the 1930s and 1940s (Ferreira 2010); the second (Almeida 2009) deals with discourses on national identity in the post-revolutionary period, following the so-called ‘Carnation Revolution’ that occurred on 25 April 1974, taking the Cultural Dynamisation Campaigns (Campanhas de Dinamização Cultural do MFA) as its field research.
We aim on the one hand to identify proximities and distances between remembrance processes that are anchored in different historical and political moments but are both penetrated by a moment of historical acceleration, and on the other hand to explore the methodological demands and difficulties of working in a ubiquitous ethnographic arena, between past and present, memory and history, underexposure and overexposure in the last 50 years of Portuguese history.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-220
JournalSocial Anthropology
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017

Keywords

  • Ethnography
  • Fieldwork
  • Memory
  • History
  • Portugal

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