Exporting Portugal: Estado Novo cultural diplomacy and rebranding strategies in the United States (1933-1974)

Exporting Portugal: Estado Novo cultural diplomacy and rebranding strategies in the United States (1933-1974)

After the 2021 Capitol Hill riots, The American Conservative published an article entitled ‘Waiting for Salazar’. It claimed that in troubled times a good alternative to liberalism for the US might be a traditionalist leader like the former Portuguese dictator, fueling both public and academic debate. Why does the image of Salazar still intrude upon American political debate? The answer lies also in the effectiveness of the Estado Novo’s soft power in the US. ExPORT examines how the Estado Novo used cultural diplomacy and national re/branding strategies in the US between 1933 and 1974, understanding the first as the use of soft power to achieve international goals, and the second as a policy aimed at recasting the country’s image to generate national pride and contest negative perceptions abroad. It assesses how Estado Novo targeted the US to promote its national culture, landscape, food, cinema, and folklore, in order to enhance stable relations, boost economic interaction and maintain control of, and support from, the Luso-American community. The project’s main hypothesis is that the Estado Novo intensified cultural diplomacy in periods when relations with the US were jeopardized and political diplomatic channels seemed spoiled. Offsetting this fragility, these policies served as a tool to secure both the regime’s geopolitical interests and its stability at home. The hypothesis relies upon analysis of funds allocated to soft power in the Portuguese state budget that indicated increased spending correlated with four key points: 1939-43 (the detaching from fascist powers); 1953-56 (the peak of Portuguese migration to the US, the Indian crisis, admission to the UN amidst its hostility to colonialism); 1961-63 (tensions between Salazar and Kennedy and the start of the colonial wars); 1968-74 (the rise of Caetano, and the apex of national and US protests against the colonialism and the regime). Overall, the project will interpret the term ‘ExPORT’ not just as an economic indicator but as a whole set of soft power policies; investigating them as a multidimensional device situated at the crossroads of culture, politics and economics, though a close analysis of written, visual and audio material held in Portuguese and US archives. Research will be developed along three main analytic lines:

AL1 Cultural diplomacy activities will be mapped to test their prevalence in moments of tense Portugal-US relations and to analyze how national and colonial politics shaped these activities over the period;

AL2 The level of engagement of soft power actors will be studied to contextualize their role in manipulating the regime’s narrative in different sectors of American society;

AL3 Mid and long-term aims will be identified to examine their interconnection and adaptation over the period in conjunction with re/branding strategies.

ExPORT will produce the first comprehensive survey and multidisciplinary study on Estado Novo soft power policies in the US. In doing so it will meet the need expressed by Rodrigues in 2018 who stressed that a new understanding of politics and culture as complementary was necessary to fully comprehend USPortuguese relations. Thus, ExPORT will also offer new insights of soft power as a key factor for the regime’s endurance at home. Further, by studying how a midsize non-democratic country targeted the US to achieve its goals it will ‘de-americanize’ cultural diplomacy studies, which so far have been largely confined to a USperiphery power dynamic perspective. The long-term approach will provide new insights, both on the diachronic dimension of re/branding which scholars have mostly considered as ahistorical, and on the concept of national identity as a dynamic feature when used to respond to shifting priorities in foreign relations. These results will generate a new replicable methodology and, through historical reflection, will foster citizens’ critical awareness of the need for a transparent information and the current functioning of mass media (UN goal 16). ExPORT will be run by a PI with a strong knowledge in the project field and a team with management and methodological expertise in international projects of cultural and economic history, anthropology, and media studies; and with vast experience researching Portuguese and US archives. ExPORT will draw strength from collaboration between senior members and a PhD student, with a key focus on academic training for the latter. The international advisory board, will assist ExPORT to establish new archive protocols and academic exchanges in collaboration with the Luso-American Foundation, Portuguese (ICS-UL, Universidade Autónoma) and US (Brown University and UMass Dartmouth) universities. Path-breaking results will be disseminated in an edited book, a special issue and 8 articles in Scopus-index journals. Outreach will include a collaboration with RTPi and the ExPORT website, which will host recorded interviews, visual galleries and podcasts.

Estatuto: 
Proponent entity
Financed: 
Yes
Entidades: 
Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia
Rede: 
Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies - Brown University Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives - University of Massachussets, Dartmouth C.E.U. - Cooperativa de Ensino Universitário, C.R.L.
Keywords: 

Portuguese Estado Novo, cultural diplomacy, luso-american relationships, rebranding strategies

After the 2021 Capitol Hill riots, The American Conservative published an article entitled ‘Waiting for Salazar’. It claimed that in troubled times a good alternative to liberalism for the US might be a traditionalist leader like the former Portuguese dictator, fueling both public and academic debate. Why does the image of Salazar still intrude upon American political debate? The answer lies also in the effectiveness of the Estado Novo’s soft power in the US. ExPORT examines how the Estado Novo used cultural diplomacy and national re/branding strategies in the US between 1933 and 1974, understanding the first as the use of soft power to achieve international goals, and the second as a policy aimed at recasting the country’s image to generate national pride and contest negative perceptions abroad. It assesses how Estado Novo targeted the US to promote its national culture, landscape, food, cinema, and folklore, in order to enhance stable relations, boost economic interaction and maintain control of, and support from, the Luso-American community. The project’s main hypothesis is that the Estado Novo intensified cultural diplomacy in periods when relations with the US were jeopardized and political diplomatic channels seemed spoiled. Offsetting this fragility, these policies served as a tool to secure both the regime’s geopolitical interests and its stability at home. The hypothesis relies upon analysis of funds allocated to soft power in the Portuguese state budget that indicated increased spending correlated with four key points: 1939-43 (the detaching from fascist powers); 1953-56 (the peak of Portuguese migration to the US, the Indian crisis, admission to the UN amidst its hostility to colonialism); 1961-63 (tensions between Salazar and Kennedy and the start of the colonial wars); 1968-74 (the rise of Caetano, and the apex of national and US protests against the colonialism and the regime). Overall, the project will interpret the term ‘ExPORT’ not just as an economic indicator but as a whole set of soft power policies; investigating them as a multidimensional device situated at the crossroads of culture, politics and economics, though a close analysis of written, visual and audio material held in Portuguese and US archives. Research will be developed along three main analytic lines:

AL1 Cultural diplomacy activities will be mapped to test their prevalence in moments of tense Portugal-US relations and to analyze how national and colonial politics shaped these activities over the period;

AL2 The level of engagement of soft power actors will be studied to contextualize their role in manipulating the regime’s narrative in different sectors of American society;

AL3 Mid and long-term aims will be identified to examine their interconnection and adaptation over the period in conjunction with re/branding strategies.

ExPORT will produce the first comprehensive survey and multidisciplinary study on Estado Novo soft power policies in the US. In doing so it will meet the need expressed by Rodrigues in 2018 who stressed that a new understanding of politics and culture as complementary was necessary to fully comprehend USPortuguese relations. Thus, ExPORT will also offer new insights of soft power as a key factor for the regime’s endurance at home. Further, by studying how a midsize non-democratic country targeted the US to achieve its goals it will ‘de-americanize’ cultural diplomacy studies, which so far have been largely confined to a USperiphery power dynamic perspective. The long-term approach will provide new insights, both on the diachronic dimension of re/branding which scholars have mostly considered as ahistorical, and on the concept of national identity as a dynamic feature when used to respond to shifting priorities in foreign relations. These results will generate a new replicable methodology and, through historical reflection, will foster citizens’ critical awareness of the need for a transparent information and the current functioning of mass media (UN goal 16). ExPORT will be run by a PI with a strong knowledge in the project field and a team with management and methodological expertise in international projects of cultural and economic history, anthropology, and media studies; and with vast experience researching Portuguese and US archives. ExPORT will draw strength from collaboration between senior members and a PhD student, with a key focus on academic training for the latter. The international advisory board, will assist ExPORT to establish new archive protocols and academic exchanges in collaboration with the Luso-American Foundation, Portuguese (ICS-UL, Universidade Autónoma) and US (Brown University and UMass Dartmouth) universities. Path-breaking results will be disseminated in an edited book, a special issue and 8 articles in Scopus-index journals. Outreach will include a collaboration with RTPi and the ExPORT website, which will host recorded interviews, visual galleries and podcasts.

Observações: 
ExPORT is funded by national funds through FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., under "2022.08653.PTDC" project
Parceria: 
International network

ExPORT

Coordenador ICS 
Referência externa 
2022.08653.PTD
Start Date: 
01/03/2023
End Date: 
28/02/2026
Duração: 
36 meses
Active