Jeux Sans Frontières

Lusosphere is a bubble

It was a new world / A poets’ dream / Going till the end / singing new victories / And proudly lifting flags / Living warlike adventures / They were truly epic / And so full lives / They were oceans of love / I’ve been to Brazil / Praia and Bissau / Angola, Mozambique / Goa and Macau / Oh, I went till Timor / I’ve been a conquistador / It was a whole people / Guided by the heavens / It spread around the world / Following its heroes / They took light out of torture / And sow ties of tenderness / They were days and days and months and years on the sea / Walking through a road of stars to win

Da Vinci, at Eurovision, 1989

Africa is more than a land to be explored; Africa is for us a moral justification and a raison d’être as a power. Without it we would be a small nation, with it we are a great State.

Marcelo Caetano, 1935

In the midst of the current convulsions, we present ourselves as a community of peoples, cemented by centuries of peaceful life and Christian understanding, brotherhood of peoples who, whatever their differences may be, help each other, grow and elevate together, proud of the name and title of Portuguese.

Salazar, 1933

Deconstruction of the lusosphere

by Marta Lança

Fortunately, there are many and plural voices reflecting on the meaning of statements to which certain not only cultural discourses and policies resort to erect an imagination and an alleged transnational heritage – the lusophone space – that results from the imperial and colonial experience, legitimized by a kind of morally acceptable exception of the Portuguese colonialism and that is associated, yesterday and today, to an ambition of universalism1. In addition to works that were devoted to the deconstruction of this discourse, my experience in Portuguese-speaking African countries and some friends, who are migrants for will and necessity, have confirmed what I suspected: if considered from the Portuguese standpoint, lusosphere reverberates the colonial past, people relate to and interest in the stories of each other more forcefully within the boundary of this “imagined community” that, despite this name, does not help them in living conditions and, if a Lusophone project exists, in most respects it has failed miserably.

On one hand, the basic problem is the creation of a political discourse that prolongs the relations of domination2 emanating from the colonial period. On the other, this same discourse has several distributions in the real world, containing within itself its own dysfunctionality.

The phrase I heard at a conference of post-colonial literature – “lusophone bubble” – used by the Italian professor Livia Apa to illustrate the literature of the lusophone space, seemed to me as the right metaphor: a little thing that protects, without edges, inflamed and ready to burst at any time. Gazing at its navel, not wanting to see anything else: this is lusosphere.

Kiluanji Kia Henda's photo

Persistent myths

“It is a bridge built to join the distinct edges of the cultural identities of each Portuguese-speaking country, a bridge that we intend to inscribe in our collective imagination, in a unique cultural encounter that broadens our view about the others and ourselves, indelibly strengthening the ties that bind us and our way of being in the world.”

Jorge Couto, former president of Instituto Camões,

talking about a publication during Expo 98.


Lusosphere may be the set of cultural identities in countries, regions, States or cities where the peoples predominantly speak Portuguese: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Macau, East Timor and various people and communities around the world. There may be privileged relations among these lusophone countries, in political and economic cooperation (as prodigious a situation as to unite the two sides of the Atlantic), in education and in the arts – great creators who operate creatively on the language and invent other Camões’s homelands, contributing with their work to expand the lusophone interculturality: Pepetela, José Craveirinha, Saramago, Jorge Amado, Luandino Vieira and many others. This imaginary definition may be geographical, of power, of identity, of a common description, but it is, first and foremost, a project, an artificial construction, as all the borders, nations and groups of nations are3.

In this so-called “lusophone” space, the same language in its various recreations is shared. It is true and fantastic: you travel in a rainforest, in the Amazon River, in the mountains of Dili, on a road of Huila and you can talk in Portuguese, you go to a café in Bissau or in a terrace in Cape Verde and you can enjoy the time of reading the newspaper in your language (though not always we understand each other in Portuguese, as for many the official language is a foreign one that only fulfils administrative functions).

Which cultural identities do these countries share beyond the specificity of the language (which is a lot indeed) and the destination of emigration, which is the ancient metropolis? Why do these different cultures, which happened to have been split in countries colonized by the same central power, have to be considered together as a package of countries? And what is concerned when we want to strengthen “our way of being in the world”? What kind of look is ours? Who is this “we”? At the outset a “we” is made of very different things and, referred to Portuguese, it should be the opposite of a source of pride.

Lusosphere depends on the “narrative of a certain history of the Portuguese colonization, which accounts for a certain present” (as António Tomás said explaining how it should be necessary to tell alternative stories, for example of Amilcar Cabral4), because, assuming that the present becomes the reapplication of founding narratives, almost all random and/or built, and of interpretations of history, if the stories are different the present will be implicitly so. But, until now, there have been only these ancestral discourses that have become, with a new make-up, “common sense”. Lusosphere, even if it updates the colonial past and delays the imperial imagination, is not unwelcome because it was clothed in an airy discourse. A less annoying one compared to the celebration of the discoveries, although lusosphere feeds itself with it.5 And the rhetoric of interculturality – as Expo 98, the current European Year of Intercultural Dialogue and other anniversaries – gives us the feeling of being in a space intended to be politically correct and worried about the fundamental issues, incidentally about living with the Other. However, such a discourse is potentially dangerous when it “expresses a utopian desire to portray the history and the relations among different communities at the global level as a relationship without power and without conflict.” (Vale de Almeida, 1998: 237) In other words, it tends to elide the process marked by conflict and by relations of power and reworks the past in a celebratory rather than problematizing way. We need therefore to better understand what there is behind all these discourses – produced in accordance with the most viable policies and ideologies – in order to “avoid the uncritical reception of particular trends, thus preventing them to be quickly generalized or universalized” (Sanches, 2007: 10) and with the interest in doubting more than just taking into account the certainties linked with the narrative of History. I’m referring to the lusosphere (official discourse and practices) with the focus on the relationship Portugal/Portuguese-speaking African countries. The case of Brazil (in its continental dimension) or of the Asian lands are different phenomena, though covered by the same logic. The designation of PALOP (Países Africanos de Língua Portuguesa, Portuguese for Portuguese-speaking African countries), again, is also an abstract set resulting of imperial cartography. We well know how these targeted countries count inside them many idiosyncrasies, which are already victim of the hegemony against its other nations within the concept of the nation State. And we have to notice that, in them, the Portuguese language was a tool that “should serve to produce new nations (not just new countries) creating unified identities against previous ethnicities. Portuguese was not a national language but a language of national unity.”6


Thinking about the post-colonial Portugal

To think about the post-colonial Portugal, in its European and Atlantic context, mediator between Africa and Europe, we should consider that, as throughout Europe, the return of capitals and people from the “old empire” reconfigures the national identity and returns its image, as it always worked, for confrontation (Europe reasserts itself in confrontation with non-Europe, the West with the East, etc.). This specular process highlights the complexity of some ties of the past (Sanches, 2006: 8). Relationships here and today have been, according to a certain perspective, the same as yesterday out there and the relationships out there are also what they once were. Thus, it is important to uncover the origin of these relationships and understand the historical and emotional confrontation between yesterday and today, in order not to live this history by the neo-colonial and nostalgic side and to get to the real interculturality (against the homogenization of cultures). We find that, despite the obvious (and not rhetorical) difficulty in analyzing the colonial past (a social taboo or, from the point of view of lusosphere, a form of proud reviving), this is very lively in the experiences, in the power networks, in the form of relationship, in conversation, in the psychological wounds of former combatants of the colonial war, in the input the “retornados” gave to the Portuguese economy, and in many other issues that underpin the present. We must think through this period and connect the pieces with the current events. As suggested by Paul Gilroy, in the Portuguese case, in particular, we should consider the “crucial link between decolonization and establishment of democracy, and the relationship between colonial rule and fascism in the metropolis.” (Gilroy, 2007: 179)

Possibly, any kind of things happens in this area: there are documentaries (as Joaquim Furtado’s War), books written by former soldiers or retornados’s children (the most ideologically dubious), public debates, testimonies, sometimes a hollow expression of nostalgia (a return to a mystified Africa where we were so happy).


the Myth of the Portuguese Colonial Exceptionalism

The discourse of lusophonia relies on the idea that Portuguese colonialism was exceptional. The fact that Portugal has been the ‘colonizer colonized’ (Sousa Santos: 2002)  both in a periphery and relatively weak position to European powers, with  prosperous overseas colonies has been called a ‘calibanizado prosperity’. This Creolized figure is said to result in a greater closeness between the peoples. ‘Portuguese colonial operations’ as Roger Bastide stresses, did not opt for the cross, or for the sword, but above all, sex.’ (Alfredo Margarido, 2007).

The practice of miscegenation occurred at a time when Portugal did not have a demographic capacity to rule colonial territory, in the context of other European colonial projects, an exceptional characteristic. But as we travel to the colonial time, we see that these multiracial relations were neither friendly nor harmonious, and far from the liberatory and transgressive meaning that Homi Bhabha gives to hybrization. Sexual violence was at the heart of Portuguese colonial exploitation— illegitimate children were made to be the foremen of plantations and offered the social privileges of the assimilated—if they would abandon African customs in the name of belief in a single God, in monogamy, and discrimatory practices. Therefore miscegenation, which also slowed in the twentieth century, did not produce many interracial marriages— this is one of the most persistent myths— but rather constructed a class structure with a process to ‘improve the race’. This structure is implicitly preserved today.

At the heart of it, the fantasy of a ‘civilizing mission’ went hand and hand with colonial violence. And when the ‘exceptional’ side of Portuguese colonialism is defended (for example in lusophone practices that emphasize the healthy cultural encounter in colonial bonds) the violence of the encounter is repressed. In this sense, we find a relation with the politicalization of luso-tropicalism whose objective was to leave an axis of European culture in the territories (Brazil is the biggest promoter of miscegenation).

The current discourse of integrative politics, just as these older forms, teaches racial tolerance and human rights, but does not dispense with its selectivity. f you can behave well within our European codes, in school, in family structure, then you can become Portuguese with a ‘refined accent.’ Of course, exceptions made for fun things like dance and music, where Others are invited to maintain their ‘traditional’ habits (which are also discursive.) Yesterday and today, their advocates  seek to teach not the ways of the colonizers but norms for lusophone cities. The interest in the myth of good relations persists, but the myth lacks efficiacy, because in our buses, schools and in the rights and in the centers of power with innumerable situations of inequality and social and racial exclusion in common-sense understanding, and often in more blatant forms. Our language itself is full of prejudice, like the irrational form of calling Blacks ‘Africans’ even when speaking to Black Portuguese people.

The discourse of lusophonia supports the continuation of double standards and encourages a self-image of the Portuguese as ‘tolerant people, brotherly, accommodating, and ecumenical’ and a universality that is immune to racism, with cultural and affect of an integratist nationalism. This, as Cláudia Castelo reminds us, ‘can serve in practice to undermine efforts to stop public demonstrations against racism and discrimination, and promote the integration of immigrants and ethnic minorities in schools, workplaces, and in the public space.’

‘What we give to the world’

Another erroneous belief is the ‘emphasis must be on what the Portuguese have given to others—a gift of blood and culture, and not so much on what they have received( MVA). Without noting what Europe has gained through Portugal’s incursions on economic and cultural levels, the tendency is to keep an account of what Africa is gaining today. We can advance the exact opposite. In Portugal, language, culture, work, attitudes, and population itself (viewed through birth rate indexes) were renewed, in great part thanks to these ‘Others’— immigrants or not, who offer an ‘Africanization’ which has granted the country new shape. Moreover, there has been a permeability on the part of the Portuguese to assimilate things that come ‘from outside’ even thought they are already here inside. What channels are being made? Portugal sees itself somewhere between country and empire, feels responsible for the countries where it had acted as colonizer Lusophonia, in the post-colonial world, functions like a false consciousness. Portugal no longer sees itself as the dated ‘Old Continent,’ but a center of the ahistorical new global order.

It does not take too much to see that the multicultural discourse of lusophonia is based on the logic of ‘us and the others’: the hospitable and those needing hospitality, those who share and those who take. Just as lusophonia treats migration as a fluctuating statistic which hides the strategies and histories which also inform desired and forced movement, it conveys a vertical conservative vision which simplifies the cultures of these countries and peoples from these countries, translating and eliminating any roughness.

Portugal is the principle beneficiary of this imagined space, and in spite of its discourse of economic and cultural harmonization, it does not show a real interest in integrating Africans. There are many examples of this schizophrenia in European politics, which Portugal has not hesitated to adopt to combat the rate of African immigration. As Portugal addresses the bilateral challenges of the circulation of people between countries, it has installed a bureaucratic machine that full of contradictions for residences of dual nationality, businesses and partnerships in progress between Angola and Portugal (for example) and the difficulty of legalizing PALOPS citizens in Portugal. At the same time, it is difficult to imagine a collaborative horizontal effort, or that the inherited conditions of the colonial past are retreating. How is it that African immigration is the oldest in Portugal, with so many historical relations, yet African immigrant social spaces—niches where the ‘Portuguese’ cannot penetrate, are still seen with great suspicion in comparison to the positive stereotypes of other communities—the kindness of Brazilians, or the professionalism of people from the East, Whites, and others spread in the social structure?

By the same logic, multiculturalism is only advocated when it is inoffensive, while what is not understood is marginalized. Joaquim Arena’s book, A Verdade de Chinado Lus—the first of a practically inexistent literature of the Diaspora (a concept that is very popular in England now) addresses the discovery of cultural identity of people what live on the edges of big cities. Arena’s book addresses first or second generation (the designation is equivocal) Cape Verdean immigrants, and shows how power works in Lisbon: people who have contact with Portuguese culture and consumer society, but do not consider themselves participants, or citizens with full rights, but still dream of returning to their homelands. Portugal continues to be an insecure cultural ghetto, often of fundamentalist impenetrability (all whites classified as neo-colonialists). Despite many Black athletes who play for the glory of Portuguese teams, most immigrants remain invisible in decision-making arenas. Many are in professions which are the lifeblood of urban life: cleaners, construction works, cooks, but are almost completely invisible in the media, and universities. Amongst opinion-makers, and the government, they are below a low horizon of expectations in intellectual and artistic matters.

In the absence of economic and socio-cultural opportunities, despair rages in the capital of the empire that I climbed/ I wasn’t able to put my gun down, while children do not know any school, I never saw the inside of a primary school classroom, I already escaped a reform which Saramago never read/ gave up on preparation sing the Philharmonic Weed.

The life outside of the center (of the Lisbon that is cool and multicultural) lives in dormitories, which drags in exhausted in trains and boats or sidewalks in the commercial centers, has been reproduced over several generations. These images are ignored in the lusophone vision, which creates value when it talks of a society where all cultures fit. Apart from the periphery, has the new African Diaspora have been passed over in Portugal? In large part, yes. The simplistic visions of culture and racial difference dominate public discourse (Teresa Fradique Fixar o Moviemento, 2002: 69). There are some critical cultural responses to this condition, however, especially through rap (which will explored later in this text).


Thinking the ‘Other’— empty multiculturalism

The only way to think about the ‘Other’ until now has been to assimilate or tolerate (Sanches 2006: 8), or purely exploit. Tolerance is understood in the sense of the Slavonic philosopher Slavoj Zizek:  to tolerate the Other when it is not the true Other, but the Other ‘disinfected’ of  economical pre-modern knowledge(…) from the movement in which we treat the True Other (we say, the clitorectomy of women, condemned to use the veil, the torute which arrange the death of enemies) in a manner (Zizek 2006: 76)

Or rather, rather than looking for similarities across cultures (omitted in the name of homogeneity of the nation) tolerance advocates respectful distance for what is inoffensive and ‘treatable’ and presumes a depoliticalization of all of the processes or strategies of co-existence. If multiculturalism in Europe is understood as a vehicle, which provides political recognition, we have to contextualize it. In the middle of so many cultural offerings and so much good-will and ‘openness to the Other’ we must take care with the versions of multiculturalism which we welcome. These versions often end with the closing of communities, and transform a political struggle (the fundamental struggle: why is there such inequality between rich and poor) into cultural battles over the recognition of identity. Zizek continues: ‘cite from original.

Multiculturalism as a ‘kind of empty global position, which treats every local culture like the colonizer treats the colonized population—as indigenous whose customs must be carefully studied and respected’ By this logic, cultures can only come into contact, or in shock, but never containment each other because they are ‘fixed things, promoted as identities (ethnicities, for example) and removed in a process of complexes.’ Moments of fruitful understanding are rare, cultural exchange, productive debates, in which cultural differences are alive in various forms, in movement and mutually influencing each other. Cultural battles cannot be substituted for social struggle, but there is a lusophone dynamic that is worth examining.


Lusophone links

We return, then to the ‘links’ which lusophonia displays. On the other side of the coin, the behavior of some Portuguese who live in African countries are, similar to those of other times: they live their ghetto culture of the axis of home-jeep-business, going to guarded beaches, using privileged pathways, callings Africans ‘locals’ and perpetuating correlations between skin color and economic opportunity. Some Portuguese live ‘there’ but full of prejudice and with constant misgivings about the return scenario, in a neo-colonial posture that is more timid and discrete, that does not allow certain affirmations in the space which is not ‘theirs but one which they still consider themselves owners through the weight of family heritage and history of fruition in the vast space. In other cases, the Portuguese Diaspora in Africa is sometimes accompanied by a weighing on the conscious so that they blame colonialization and the relations of the past for every present evil, à la Kadafi. Still other times, there is a cynical smile at the incapacities of Africans to organize themselves.

Among the various attitudes that form discourses in relation to Africa, as Ana Mafalda notes, they are told with a paternalism with traces of colonialism facing the other with tolerance and distance, awe, unconditional (almost acritical) adaption and solidarity, which makes a bridge with the past (we’re all innocent sharing past history), in some way related to lusophonia in which we have the democratic version of how the Portuguese encounter with other people so different from other European encounters and how these people miss our co-inhabitance. (Ana Barradas 1998:232)

Nothing to do with Africa is indifferent: not the fascination with purity of blood, sickness, infantilization, (mis)goverance, and disfunctionality is the chaos that attracts and fund ONGs with legions of Western youth with altruistic intentions (which are the same that were at the base of the evangelizing missions of the colonial period.) Once more, this image of the exceptional nature of Portuguese colonialism is present in well-intentioned rhetoric of cultural encounters or exchanges. Its veracity must be questioned, so that the cynicism of the State does not distort lived realities.


The Promotion of Lusophonia

In spire of the discourse of lusophonia that is apparently committed, in reality there is not really a lusophone conscious, there is not a lusophone lobby in ONU or in OMC nor is there so much cohesion in economic or political agendas (at least compared to francophonia). Almost no African or Brazilians identify themselves as ‘lusophone’ (one only hears Portuguese talk this way.) What unifies the lusophones today, what ‘potential’ does the discourse hold? Would it be the exchange of culture: knowledge of the stories and literatures of each other, culinary tastes, music, football?

If it were so, doubt persists over what moves lusophonia promoters , once disinterest is the dominant tonic in various areas of expression. As Kalaf questioned in a Público chronicle: ‘Are we really interested in lusophonia? Or is this a concept that serves only the mediatic? Brazil is apparently little concerned with the current state of this luso-whatever-thing and Angola is following the same path.’ This lack of interest maybe the fact that its practices are a throwback to the colonial past. The agents that promote lusophonia still function like the cultural capital is in the ‘metropolis’. This subsumes various political representations without any notion of the reality of these countries, and without promising any mutual programming partnerships, etc. The lusophone spaces ends up being a (cultural industry) ‘bubble where everything is possible and everything is consumed.’ Taking up once more Lívia Apa’s idea that it is a ‘world created by the links of the Portuguese language, in which writers move, trade visions, talk, write, are read, but beyond which they themselves are not able to find their proper place, as if they were incapable of having access to what is happening outside of lusophina. For example, African writers read little African literature that is not ‘lusophone’.

The reflexive closing off of other spaces creates this protective bubble, in the reins  of a closed and alienating circuit. The fact that literary production has to pass through the Portuguese market to be legitimate means that the lusophone canon is produced in an exogenous manner. As a result, the literatures becomes like an exclusive entrance to the ‘exotic’— only few are allowed, as the market knows well how to monetize ‘difference.’ Sometimes the Markey even conditions their own way of writing (as if they write ‘for the Portuguese to read’). Portuguese-speaking African writers end up creating their own traditional culture . African writers are little read outside of their countries of origin, and are more popular in Europe, where there are more readers. Here we can consider Inocência Mata’s study of the reintroduction of the politics of cultural assimilationalism and continuation of imperialism in culture (Mata 2007: 288).

The Portuguese language was the support of the Empire and today is ties the support of lusophonia to the idea of Portuguese universalism. To reinforce this (parilha) that promotes it. This would not in itself be a problem, if it did not affirm the principle that assures Portuguese control over the Portuguese language. As Alfredo Margarido (2007) reminds us, ‘language can stop existing as an instrument that can be used by any group or even individual, so that it is not only the creation, but the property of the Portuguese. If we share the principle that language belongs those who speak it, it is possible to register the profound autonomy of Portuguese locuters. If we hope that the language will continue to evolve we must fight the instinct of domination that continues to mark Portuguese society.’

We come now to the relationship to the new orthography agreement that will change in this capital, a controversy which is widely discussed among more conservative circles. It is as if language, the patrimony of Portuguese speakers were the final territory to be decolonized, as the Timor Lestean writer Luis Cordoso suggested in the conversation referred to above. But only those who were given signs this time, in a autophagic process to take control of the norm and subvert it, to the opposite ends of intended linguistic colonialism. There are others ‘reinventing Portuguse, the tugas learning with us, we are the colonizers this time’ raps the Angolan Kheita Mayanda in the song ‘É dreda ser angolano.’  In this equalizing space, these different variations of Portuguese, with many more speakers and creativity, that are not under the thumb of the supposed ‘center’ of the language, which enrich the Portuguese language.

Music can be a true exception, where the discourse of ‘lusophone space’ is a productive reality in some sense. Since the XV century, music has demonstrated cultural exchange in the healthy contamination of rhythms and knowledge of origins of music in various countries that speak Portuguese. For example, fado, which is the family of lundum and morna, is a curiosity of the Portuguese intervention with African and Brazilian music; from the 90, the rise of projects like Rap Mania or Kussondolola (which makes a bridge with Africa in youth culture) and today innumerable fusion bands. The music that circulates in urban cultures recuperates semba, mornas and introduces many points of contact between the various cultures.

In spite of lusophonia music being a constructed reality, once more the lusophone social project disintegrates in practice. Portuguese producers have fallen asleep at the wheel. In the film Lusophonia, Sounds of (Re)volution, many musicians and music agents lament the lack of national investment and the need to sign with non-Portuguese labels (above all French and Dutch, in the case of singers like Lura, Cesaria Évora, Sara Tavares, Mariza) with better conditions, from recording to promotion, to awards. Portuguese producers are [not paying attention] to the source of good music of Afro-Lisboeta nights, do not believe in and do not cultivate ‘linguistic patrimony’—the music in Portuguese language or Creole in many cases—as a market of the confluence of cultures. Because of complexes, or a lack of vision? Sometimes when they discover incredible phenomenon like progressive kuduro, in the case of Buraka Som Sistema. But all the same kurudo , above all original and ghetto kurudo is underappreciated ‘if it were from Berlin, New York, or London kuduro would be world music’ says in the same film, the critic Vitor Belanciano.

In visual arts, it appears that majority of challenges are meet a spirit which crystallizes the idea of a traditional African art, according to the taste of Africanists or to satisfy the avid market for naïf and neo-primitivism, which is condensing and undervalues the context of artists in relation to their art. Sometimes there are initiatives that reflect a contemporary vision and introduce a series of questions linked to post-colonial theories, but they remain focused on the image of one center the vestiges of the Portuguese in Africa, or how Africans see the Portuguese there, or how the descendents of colonizers discovered their origins, etc. Other events pass on the margins of the lusophonia (and the Portuguese artistic scene itself.) These examples of the poor promotion of lusophonia. eventually converge on the idea that the lusophone space has not seen serious investment, and, whose sustenance is not disinterested.

Links between the cultures of Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa exist naturally in life stories; the majority of these are pushed through the history of Portuguese colonialism, while others join the new search for El Dorado of investment in Africa. navigate war, economics, unemployment, studies, heartbreak, and the thousand other reasons that make people move to realities that are not necessarily chosen. The heritage of a tragico-maritime narrative has been transformed into a discourse about bridges and cultural ties. Bur this has also bound us to the untenable ideology that was colonialism. All these discourses, which hope to be effective now, are also ideologically questionable, with interests and practices, which insist on the colonist’s terms and rules of the game.

We must have more critical reflection to avoid the reproduction of the myths of the past. We must question the basis and defense of the model of lusophonia in order to shift the paradigm, deal with issues of subjectivities and particularities, contextualized to where these relationships come from, and not abstract links between countries. We must consider shared histories and language outside of the beautifully retouched family portrait that Portugal wants to use whenever it is convenient.

Article originally published on ‘Jogos Sem Fronteiras’, a maganize from Antipáticas editions in July 2008.  

  • 1. In short, this reflection is related to the reading of these articles and works: Miguel Vale de Almeida’s “The Return of Luso-tropicalism – nostalgias in colonial times” and Ana Barradas’s “Ministers of the Night”, both in These Other Stories to be Told, 1998; Manuela Ribeiro Sanches’s “Introduction,” Akhil Gupta’s “Global transactions of the harvests since the age of discoveries and transformations of gastronomic cultures” and Inocência Mata’s “Strangers on a permanent basis: the negotiation of Portuguese identity in the post-colonial period” in Portugal is not a small country, Cotovia, 2006; Alfredo Margarido’s “Lusosphere, another form of colonialism” and Claudia Castelo’s “Luso-tropicalism, a persistent myth” in Le Monde Diplomatique, No. 5, Portuguese series (March 2007); Ana Mafalda Leite’s African Literatures and Postcolonial Formulations, Colibri, 2003; Boaventura Sousa Santos’s “Between Prospero and Caliban: Colonialism, Post-colonialism, and Inter-identity” in Between Being and Belonging – roots, routes and discourses of identity, Afrontamento, 2002; Slavoj Zizek’s “Multiculturalism Repressive Tolerance,” “In Praise of Intolerance,” Relógio de Água, 2006; Paul Gilroy’s “Multiculture and Conviviality in Europe” The Urgency of Theory, Tinta-da-China, Gulbenkian, 2007, among others.
  • 2. “The idea of the lusosphere is not naive and pure, for its discourses reveal as inherently political and they extend the inferiority of the other.” Inês Costa Dias “DIAS.POR.AQUI – Project for an exhibition”, Master’s thesis.
  • 3. “CPLP [Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries] is assumed as a new political project whose foundation is the Portuguese language, historical tie and common heritage of the Seven [countries]”(Article 3 of the agreement of CPLP, 1996-07-17).
  • 4. António Tomás, The Maker of Utopias – a biography of Amilcar Cabral, Lisbon: Tinta da China, 2007.
  • 5. Postcolonial Studies, 2006: 37.
  • 6. Michael Cahen, Lusophone Africa and paradoxical nationalism.
Translation:  Megan Eardley, Alice Girotto


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