Tradition and modernity in the Portuguese Inner Colonisation: The laboratorial case of Pegões

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The intertwining of tradition and modernity is a rooted discussion within the Portuguese history of architecture since the mid-twentieth century. From then on, the dichotomisation of erudite and vernacular architectures, urban and rural cultures and settings, nationalist and universalistic values, seems to have been debated and reviewed. This paper aims to contribute to such de-essentialisation processes by focusing on the Portuguese Estado Novo project of inner colonisation conducted by the Junta de Colonização Interna (1936-1974), and examining the dialogues and frictions between its traditional and modern ideals and accomplishments as spatialised in one very particular colony – Pegões. On the one hand, the paper ponders upon the Portuguese colonisation’s neo-physiocratic basis, locating the tradition-modernity binomial in the intent to modernise the agrarian world while perpetuating its traditional lifestyle, simultaneously fostering an economic development, social control and national identity. On the other hand, the paper draws upon the laboratorial colony of Pegões, which was the first, the biggest and the only one built in Southern Portugal, to more thickly analyse the colonisation’s politics and fulfilments, and its understanding and uses of traditional and modernist ideals, aesthetics and representations. Special attention is given to the dialectics between political and economic agencies, social negotiations, embodied experiences, and meanings and affections, by looking into the official-written history of the colony and emotional-sensory memory of its settlers. This approach results from the work carried out within the scope of MODSCAPES research project (funded by HERA Uses of the Past), notably in what concerns its research line on the memories and perceptions of European colonisation policies, schemes and resulting landscapes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRegionalism, Nationalism & Modern Architecture
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings
EditorsJorge Pimentel, Alexandra Trevisan, Alexandra Cardoso
Place of PublicationPorto
PublisherCEAA | Centro de Estudos Arnaldo Araújo – ESAP
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-972-8784-82-9
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventRegionalism, Nationalism & Modern Architecture International Conference - Centro de Estudos Arnaldo Araújo, Escola Superior Artística do Porto, Porto, Portugal
Duration: 25 Oct 201827 Oct 2018


ConferenceRegionalism, Nationalism & Modern Architecture International Conference
Internet address


  • Traditionalism
  • Modernism
  • Heritage


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