Race Trouble. Decolonizing race and racial inequality in postcolonial Portugal

Race Trouble. Decolonizing race and racial inequality in postcolonial Portugal

RACE TROUBLE is an exploratory research project that aims at studying racial categories and race-based inequality in postcolonial Portugal. It does so with an original theoretical and methodological approach. Our objective is fourfold and involves multiple forms of decolonization. First, we aim to explore the situated meanings of race and racial inequality articulated in the Portuguese context. Our contention is that categorizations of race and ethnicity are context-specific and dependent upon particular colonial and postcolonial histories. Although colonialism was commonly based on racial oppression, the institutionalizations of racialized hierarchies of power followed particular routes and took particular shapes. While situated approaches to racism are not uncommon (comparing, for instance, South Africa and the US, Frederickson 1981, or establishing a sociology of race in Brazil, Costa 2002), the Portuguese postcolonial context remains little explored. Our aim is to fill that gap. Therefore, and secondly, we mobilize the sociological conceptualization of intersectionality, today the dominant model to describe inequalities, whether derived from race, gender or class. However, we follow a situated approach. The RACE TROUBLE project seeks to test, and eventually complement, the North American model of intersectional analysis of inequalities with a model based on the historical experience of the Portuguese-speaking world. Decolonizing race in Portugal implies that we explore local categorizations of race, trace-back their historical specificities and mobilize a comparative perspective. Thirdly, we also seek to decolonize intersectionality. Situated articulations and intersections of racial inequality will inform our rendering of the dominant model of intersectionality. While global, racial inequalities need to be assessed and measured in situ. Although rooted in global inequalities, historically specific forms of racial hierarchization will necessarily translate into localized forms of oppression. Thus far, race and ethnicity are a blind spot in the Portuguese context (Braga 2020). However, anti-racist movements are on the rise, well supported by international trends. In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd and the increased legitimation of the Black Lives Matter movement, protest against racial discrimination and institutionalized racism also gained and unprecedented strength in the Portuguese context. When Portugal is finally facing its long-lasting structural racism (for instance, with the approval in July 2021 of the National Plan to Combat Racism and Discrimination 2021-2025), more in-depth examinations of race are paramount. Finally, our exploratory research is engaged with effort to decolonize sociology (Connell, 2018). In Portuguese sociology there is still a gap to be bridged. RACE TROUBLE intends to contribute for expanding and consolidating the critical debate on race and racial inequality. Methodologically, RACE TROUBLE proposes to examine the situated understandings of race through a combined exploratory strategy. First, we will conduct a literature review, which examines historically produced racial categorizations and identities in order to compare differences and convergences between i) AngloAmerican contexts (US, in particular), ii) Portugal and iii) the Portuguese speaking world (namely Brazil and the PALOPs). In particular, we will monitor and compare official (e.g. Census and official statistics) and officious (e.g. focussing on debates about luso-tropicalism and racial oppression) categorizations of race prevailing from the late 19th century to the present-day. We will explore how the intersectional model adjusts to meanings of race beyond US-centric categorizations. Secondly, using the forms of categorization monitored, we will carry out a set of exploratory cognitive interviews on the meanings of race, discrimination and intersectional disadvantage. Thirdly, we will complement the cognitive interviews with focus group interviews with contrasting groups of racialized individuals living in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, namely men and women hailing from the former colonies in Africa and Brazil. The outcomes of our research will inform future questioning about race and racial categories in Portugal and the Portuguese speaking world while also promoting critical alternatives to delocalized views of intersectionality.

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

Inequalities, race, intersectionality, postcolonial

RACE TROUBLE is an exploratory research project that aims at studying racial categories and race-based inequality in postcolonial Portugal. It does so with an original theoretical and methodological approach. Our objective is fourfold and involves multiple forms of decolonization. First, we aim to explore the situated meanings of race and racial inequality articulated in the Portuguese context. Our contention is that categorizations of race and ethnicity are context-specific and dependent upon particular colonial and postcolonial histories. Although colonialism was commonly based on racial oppression, the institutionalizations of racialized hierarchies of power followed particular routes and took particular shapes. While situated approaches to racism are not uncommon (comparing, for instance, South Africa and the US, Frederickson 1981, or establishing a sociology of race in Brazil, Costa 2002), the Portuguese postcolonial context remains little explored. Our aim is to fill that gap. Therefore, and secondly, we mobilize the sociological conceptualization of intersectionality, today the dominant model to describe inequalities, whether derived from race, gender or class. However, we follow a situated approach. The RACE TROUBLE project seeks to test, and eventually complement, the North American model of intersectional analysis of inequalities with a model based on the historical experience of the Portuguese-speaking world. Decolonizing race in Portugal implies that we explore local categorizations of race, trace-back their historical specificities and mobilize a comparative perspective. Thirdly, we also seek to decolonize intersectionality. Situated articulations and intersections of racial inequality will inform our rendering of the dominant model of intersectionality. While global, racial inequalities need to be assessed and measured in situ. Although rooted in global inequalities, historically specific forms of racial hierarchization will necessarily translate into localized forms of oppression. Thus far, race and ethnicity are a blind spot in the Portuguese context (Braga 2020). However, anti-racist movements are on the rise, well supported by international trends. In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd and the increased legitimation of the Black Lives Matter movement, protest against racial discrimination and institutionalized racism also gained and unprecedented strength in the Portuguese context. When Portugal is finally facing its long-lasting structural racism (for instance, with the approval in July 2021 of the National Plan to Combat Racism and Discrimination 2021-2025), more in-depth examinations of race are paramount. Finally, our exploratory research is engaged with effort to decolonize sociology (Connell, 2018). In Portuguese sociology there is still a gap to be bridged. RACE TROUBLE intends to contribute for expanding and consolidating the critical debate on race and racial inequality. Methodologically, RACE TROUBLE proposes to examine the situated understandings of race through a combined exploratory strategy. First, we will conduct a literature review, which examines historically produced racial categorizations and identities in order to compare differences and convergences between i) AngloAmerican contexts (US, in particular), ii) Portugal and iii) the Portuguese speaking world (namely Brazil and the PALOPs). In particular, we will monitor and compare official (e.g. Census and official statistics) and officious (e.g. focussing on debates about luso-tropicalism and racial oppression) categorizations of race prevailing from the late 19th century to the present-day. We will explore how the intersectional model adjusts to meanings of race beyond US-centric categorizations. Secondly, using the forms of categorization monitored, we will carry out a set of exploratory cognitive interviews on the meanings of race, discrimination and intersectional disadvantage. Thirdly, we will complement the cognitive interviews with focus group interviews with contrasting groups of racialized individuals living in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, namely men and women hailing from the former colonies in Africa and Brazil. The outcomes of our research will inform future questioning about race and racial categories in Portugal and the Portuguese speaking world while also promoting critical alternatives to delocalized views of intersectionality.

Observações: 
RACE TROUBLE is funded by national funds through FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, I.P., under "2022.04225.PTDC" project
Parceria: 
Unintegrated

RACE TROUBLE

Coordenador ICS 
Referência externa 
2022.04225.PTDC
Start Date: 
12/03/2023
End Date: 
11/09/2024
Duração: 
18 meses
Active