O Império colonial português e a cultura popular urbana: Visões comparativas da metrópole e das colónias (1945-1974)

O Império colonial português e a cultura popular urbana: Visões comparativas da metrópole e das colónias (1945-1974)

Empires are spaces of circulation of people and goods between colonies and their metropolitan centres, but they are also spaces of global circulation. A variety of cultural forms were circulated within the space of the Portuguese empire as well as between empires and non-imperial spaces, thus affecting representations of the world and everyday practices.

This interdisciplinary project engages history, anthropology, postcolonial studies and cultural studies in an attempt to understand how the circulation of urban imperial and global popular cultural products between 1945 and 1974 helped to build a colonial society composed through the intermingling of colonies, metropolis and wider global contexts.

Of the various cultural forms, popular culture has a special status. The production and consumption of films, music and popular literature, the three genres that we shall study in this project, will provide four essential lines of research:

  1. colonial representations in film, in music and in popular literature;
  2. the role of the state in the production of popular culture and the surveillance exercised by its institutions and devices, from censorship to the General Inspectorate of Performances (IGE);
  3. the production of counter-hegemonic discourses with respect to colonial power, from the political standpoint, but also against the social norms and values that underpinned a colonial order in terms of consumption habits and lifestyles, hierarchical relations, gender relations, and conflicts between generational representations;
  4. how populations incorporate popular culture into their everyday lives, as both producers and consumers. Luanda and Lourenço Marques, the capitals of Angola and Mozambique which will be the focus of our research, were privileged spaces for such exchanges in terms of production, dissemination and consumption of popular culture. They were simultaneously distribution centres of representations of colonial ideology and places where cultural influences circulated in different directions.

It is the analysis of the practice, consumption and circulation of popular culture in colonial urban areas that best characterises this project and sets it apart. In this context we intend:

a) To identify the consumption of these genres of popular culture and the circulation of the discourses and images they created among the people living in Luanda and Lourenço Marques between 1945 and 1974. This will entail a careful study of the social, political and cultural positioning of the various groups living in these cities at that time.

b) To examine how this population interpreted the products of popular culture that circulated around these colonial cities, how they made use of them and how films, music and popular literature formed part of their daily lives.

c) To learn how colonial and imperial society was imagined and reproduced through popular culture.

The research will be based on case studies that will help to make the treatment of a series of questions and problems in the field of cultural practice and consumption more thorough. They will be developed from ethnographic approaches, archival research and in-depth interviews, which will make it possible to identify the different agents of popular culture (producers, technicians, distributors, marketers), places (cinemas, concert venues or sales outlets for books and magazines), and the different audiences.

The project will be strongly comparative in nature, comparing various territories, the formation of markets for culture, its agents, spaces, formats and the local appropriations of forms of popular culture. This comparative dimension will enable us to assess the degree of dependence of the colonies on the culture of the metropolis faced with the power of a global culture spearheaded by the major centres of the culture industry and by regional African dynamics, with centres like South Africa being of crucial importance.

The study of the Portuguese imperial case should therefore make it possible to create a basis for comparison with works on popular culture in other imperial spaces. This will be developed by organising an international conference on popular culture and empire. The project is also innovative in its interdisciplinary nature. The team members have already worked extensively on the themes of empire and popular culture based on a range of academic traditions. This approach will enable the topic to be studied more systematically by combining cultural production with its practices and consumption, in line with the studies carried on in other contexts, still largely absent in the Portuguese academia.

 

Estatuto: 
Proponent entity
Financed: 
Yes
Entidades: 
Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia
Keywords: 

Colonialism, Portuguese empire, Popular culture, Cities

Empires are spaces of circulation of people and goods between colonies and their metropolitan centres, but they are also spaces of global circulation. A variety of cultural forms were circulated within the space of the Portuguese empire as well as between empires and non-imperial spaces, thus affecting representations of the world and everyday practices.

This interdisciplinary project engages history, anthropology, postcolonial studies and cultural studies in an attempt to understand how the circulation of urban imperial and global popular cultural products between 1945 and 1974 helped to build a colonial society composed through the intermingling of colonies, metropolis and wider global contexts.

Of the various cultural forms, popular culture has a special status. The production and consumption of films, music and popular literature, the three genres that we shall study in this project, will provide four essential lines of research:

  1. colonial representations in film, in music and in popular literature;
  2. the role of the state in the production of popular culture and the surveillance exercised by its institutions and devices, from censorship to the General Inspectorate of Performances (IGE);
  3. the production of counter-hegemonic discourses with respect to colonial power, from the political standpoint, but also against the social norms and values that underpinned a colonial order in terms of consumption habits and lifestyles, hierarchical relations, gender relations, and conflicts between generational representations;
  4. how populations incorporate popular culture into their everyday lives, as both producers and consumers. Luanda and Lourenço Marques, the capitals of Angola and Mozambique which will be the focus of our research, were privileged spaces for such exchanges in terms of production, dissemination and consumption of popular culture. They were simultaneously distribution centres of representations of colonial ideology and places where cultural influences circulated in different directions.

It is the analysis of the practice, consumption and circulation of popular culture in colonial urban areas that best characterises this project and sets it apart. In this context we intend:

a) To identify the consumption of these genres of popular culture and the circulation of the discourses and images they created among the people living in Luanda and Lourenço Marques between 1945 and 1974. This will entail a careful study of the social, political and cultural positioning of the various groups living in these cities at that time.

b) To examine how this population interpreted the products of popular culture that circulated around these colonial cities, how they made use of them and how films, music and popular literature formed part of their daily lives.

c) To learn how colonial and imperial society was imagined and reproduced through popular culture.

The research will be based on case studies that will help to make the treatment of a series of questions and problems in the field of cultural practice and consumption more thorough. They will be developed from ethnographic approaches, archival research and in-depth interviews, which will make it possible to identify the different agents of popular culture (producers, technicians, distributors, marketers), places (cinemas, concert venues or sales outlets for books and magazines), and the different audiences.

The project will be strongly comparative in nature, comparing various territories, the formation of markets for culture, its agents, spaces, formats and the local appropriations of forms of popular culture. This comparative dimension will enable us to assess the degree of dependence of the colonies on the culture of the metropolis faced with the power of a global culture spearheaded by the major centres of the culture industry and by regional African dynamics, with centres like South Africa being of crucial importance.

The study of the Portuguese imperial case should therefore make it possible to create a basis for comparison with works on popular culture in other imperial spaces. This will be developed by organising an international conference on popular culture and empire. The project is also innovative in its interdisciplinary nature. The team members have already worked extensively on the themes of empire and popular culture based on a range of academic traditions. This approach will enable the topic to be studied more systematically by combining cultural production with its practices and consumption, in line with the studies carried on in other contexts, still largely absent in the Portuguese academia.

 

Objectivos: 
.
Parceria: 
Unintegrated

Coordenador 
Start Date: 
15/06/2016
End Date: 
14/06/2019
Duração: 
36 meses
Active