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«Social cleavages in the last Portuguese colonial empire Maria Eugénia Mata1 Abstract Social cohesion in the Portuguese colonial empire is approached ...»

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According to Sreenivas, 2003, although new cultural elements such as the availability of women’s magazines, which introduced or “developed new notions of subjective inferiority” in Tamil Indian women in British colonial India, displacing “such conventional identity markers as kinship or caste”, it is unavoidable to consider the strong influence and the social role of religious elements in the Indian society.43 In this case religious conversion is not enough to offset the social cleavages, although castes should not exist among Catholics there. In any event, the Hindu religion was also the religion of the large majority of the population. For historical reasons, India had its own civilization and the social system was quite firmly rooted in race and lineage: “Pride of race and of caste proved too strong for the legislation, which the Portuguese authorities periodically enacted to encourage mixed marriages”.44 Anglo-Indians are also considered as an endogamous community in the available literature.45 Even Portuguese was only language spoken among the most erudite members of the Portuguese territories in India. People in general spoke Concani in Goa and Guzerate or Urdu in the other territories.46 Some of them could also write Marata, while the English language prevailed as the civilized European language. From the Portuguese perspective, this fact was not a reason to classify people as “indigenous”, as noted above, meaning that Indian culture was seen as superior or was at least much respected. The justification may be found in the Portuguese literature of the time: “Even the fact that some of them did not speak Portuguese does not deserve objection concerning their quality as Portuguese, as great patriots have always spoken other languages. Homeland is a spiritual reality, beyond racial or language groups”. (…) “Regarding religions, it is convenient to stress that in Portuguese India there exists freedom and respect for worship. Hindu or Muslim temples, as well as those of other religions, deserve respect (…). We shall not make any distinctions, for the effect of considering Portuguese, among poor or rich, Hindus or Muslims, Parsees or Christians. All of them and regardless of the ethnic group or religion to which they belong are equally Portuguese.”47 19 Although this was the legal framework, such deep cleavages in ethnicity, language and religion that are absolutely clear in the structure of marriages, made social and interracial integration in India difficult. Weights and measures in India did not follow the universal metric system, another proof of the British prevailing influence. In all other Portuguese colonial territories it was used.48 Note also that these Portuguese colonial territories were the first to leave the Portuguese empire.

With this social background it is easier to comment on the data that show that Indians only married Indian people (wives or husbands) and did not mix with other ethnic groups. Mixed marriages represented only 0.3% of total marriages. Among them, marriages between a white husband and an Indian wife were statistically dominant, although interracial marriages also included mixing with other minorities (particularly with mixed and blacks). Although it is quite difficult to establish a comparison with British India, because “ any effort to compare different imperial systems (…) raises questions about what it is we should be comparing”,49 note that intermarriage in British India also occurred “between Britons and Anglo-Indian women”, although Indian and Anglo-Indian were mostly endogamous. Caplan, 2001 refers to the strong past presence of the Portuguese in India (Madras and San Thome near Madras, for example) leading to marriages between Englishmen and “half-castes of Portuguese extraction” to report on Anglo-Indians, who he describes as the “Children of Colonialism”.50 Women always introduced diversity and miscegenation, as is very well known. Portuguese-Indian, like Anglo-Indian women, also married European males. On the contrary, only better placed male Anglo-Indians, after going abroad for studies, could marry British (or other European) women, while Anglo-Indian women could aspire to marriages with whites (Europeans).51 International Comparisons Portuguese colonization in Africa was too short for interracial marriage to produce the effects of social interracial integration as hybridization, as it lasted for only a little less than half a century. In the USA “1 in 40 persons identify himself or herself as multiracial”, which is 2.5% of the population. And “this figure could soar to 1 in 5 by the year 2050”, which will be 20%.52 With the exception of islands, Portuguese colonies in the 1940s and ’50s were less mixed than the USA is today. Note that a much stronger miscegenation was reached in the Atlantic islands under Portuguese colonization. Not only does insularity help to mestizage, but also Portuguese 20 colonization had persisted throughout the previous centuries. The islands, therefore, were much more creole societies than continental territories. Of course one may blame on these comparisons as they suppose that “Legal, economic, religious and familial structures are treated as phenomena to be judged by Western standards”.53 Moreover, racial prejudice was much more bipolar black/white focused.54 In Portuguese colonies no black (“negro”) husbands married “white” women. In America, “5.5 percent of black males married white females in 1990”.55 This fact may indicate less social prejudice, but surely also results from more asymmetric educational levels between whites and blacks in the Portuguese colonies.56 Social classes and education were coterminous, so race and education were coterminous as well.





It is also easy to believe that interracial marriage was more difficult in light of the stage of economic growth. As African colonies were weakly urbanized, there was very little exposure of blacks to whites: in each colonial territory most of the native people lived in the countryside, while whites concentrated in urban centers. When blacks did live in the urban centers, they concentrated in the peripheral neighborhoods, the musseques of Luanda, for example, making for social segregation but also hybridization and mestizage.57 This means that color and residence were coterminous and in large cities ghettoization of poverty led to segregation, but also to interracial marriage and creolization. This is a very well known process that is also documented for other countries and their cities.58 The longest-lasting Portuguese colonization, in Brazil, produced a widely mixed society. Brazilian segregation is well documented, but even so it is also considered “moderate when compared to the extreme black-white segregation still found in major US cities”.59 Conclusions and Epilogue In this paper the results presented indicate that homogamy was dominant in the Portuguese colonies. The paper demonstrates that race and marriage were not independent variables and rejects the notion that government political philosophy was successful in considering formal and juridical equality for all the Portuguese people living there. Low levels of segregation allowed interracial interaction, including interracial friendship and intermarriage, at least among similar social classes or cohorts. However, cultural assimilation through university attendance could not be as efficient as social cohesion resulting from interracial marriages. According to recent studies, 21 shifting social attitudes, rather than laws and courts, have greater impact than formal or juridical changes. In fact, common manners and cultural affinities such as the Portuguese language could create a homogeneous mixed population. Instead of considering that mixed people were marginal groups to both of their origins one should better understand that they established cultural linkages for bringing together separate patterns and traditions in a society where the binary opposition between white colonizer and colored colonized was the main assertive social cleavage.60 This paper therefore adds one more perspective to decolonization and independence. It is possible to say that colonial wars in the three main colonies of Guinea, Angola and Mozambique for 14 years from the beginning of the 1960s led to attempts of enlarging ethnic and cultural merging in new experiences for sociability, economic integration for growth and development. These political attempts could not accommodate the conflicts, which led, in turn, to political independence for all the territories in the middle of the 1970s, immediately following the first oil shock.61 Traditional explanations only include the international pressure of the great powers (including the United Nations) on Portugal to decolonize, the financial constraints to support colonial administration and colonial war, or the failure of the attempts for an integrated Portuguese space including the mother country and the African colonies along with the Portuguese participation in the European integration through EFTA.62 It would be better to adopt the recent perspectives on liberation movements that consider them as real rebellion groups against the ruling racial minorities made up of white and assimilated people. Of course, these minorities claimed control of the resources that the colonizers and assimilated were monopolizing, if an economic perspective may be used, as is the case in many recent papers devoted to these issues.63 22 REFERENCES Alesina, Alberto, Reza Baqir, and William Easterly (1999), “Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, November 1999: 1243-1284.

Anthony, Frank (1969), Britain’s betrayal in India: The story of Anglo-Indian Community, Allied Publishers, New Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta.

Bailey, Stanley R (2004), “Group dominance and the myth of racial democracy: Antiracism attitudes in Brazil, American Sociological Review, 69 (5): 728-747.

Birkelund, Gunn Elisabeth; Heldal, Johan (2003) “Who Marries Whom? Educational Homogamy in Norway”, Demographic Research – Volume 8, Article 1.

http://www.demographic-research.org 1, Research Article.

Blunt, Alison (2003), “Geographies of diaspora and mixed descent: Anglo-Indians in India and Britain”, International Journal of Population Geography, 9 (4): 281-294.

Borges, Marcelo J. (2003), “Network migration, marriage patterns, and adaptation in rural

Portugal and among Portuguese immigrants in Argentina”, The history of the family, 8 (3):

445-479.

Breslaw, Elaine G. (2003), ”Marriage, Money, and Sex: Dr. Hamilton Finds a Wife”, Journal of Social History, 36, (3), Spring 2003: 657-673.

Caplan, Lionel (2001), Children of Colonialism, Anglo-Indians in a Post-Colonial World, Oxford, New York, Berg.

Caselli, Francesco; Coleman, Wilbur John (2002) “On the theory of ethnic conflict” working-paper, Harvard University.

Cott, Nancy F. (2002), "The Power of Government in Marriage", The Good Society, 11 (3):

88-90.

Cunha, J. M. da Silva (1964), A Nação escolheu o caminho, Lisboa, Agência Geral do Ultramar.

Easterly, William (2000), “Can Institutions Resolve Ethnic Conflict?” Mimeo, World Bank, Forthcoming in Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Easterly, William and Ross Levine (1997), "Africa’s Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions,” November 1997, Quarterly Journal of Economics. CXII (4): 1203-1250.

Ferreira, Lúcia; Pedra, Cristina (1988), “Despesas coloniais do Estado Português, 1913, Revista de História Económica e Social, 24, Sept-Dec 1988: 89-103.

–  –  –

Godinho, António Maria (1962), Problemática das relações humanas no Ultramar Português, Lisboa, UTL, oração de sapiência.

Godinho, António Maria (1954), Notas sobre o estado da Índia, Lisboa, Agência Geral do Ultramar.

Harris, David R; Ono, Hiromi (2005) “How many interracial marriages would there be if all groups were of equal size in all places? A new look at national estimates of interracial marriage”, Social Science Research, 34 (1), March 2005: 236-251.

Hodler, Roland (2004), “The curse of natural resources in fractionalized countries”, Working paper, University of Bern.

Jacobs, Margaret D. (2002), ”The Eastmans and the Luhans: Interracial Marriage between White Women and Native American Men, 1875-1935” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 23 (3), 2002: 29-54.

Lee, Jenifer, (2004), “America’s change color lines”, Annual Review of Sociology, 30 (1), 2004: 221.

Mata, Maria Eugénia; Valério, Nuno (1994); (2003), História Económica de Portugal, Lisboa, Presença.

McGrath, Ann (Ann Margaret) (2002) ”White Brides: Images of Marriage across Colonizing Boundaries” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 23 (3), 2002: 76-108.

Myers Jr., Samuel (2002), “Presidential Address, Analysis of Race as Policy Analysis”, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 21 (2), Spring 2002: 169-190.

Nazzari, Muriel (2001), ”Vanishing Indians: The Social Construction of Race in Colonial Sao Paulo” The Americas, 57 (4), April 2001: 497-524.

North, Douglas (1990), Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Qian, Zhenchao; Lichter, Daniel T. (2001), “Measuring Marital Assimilation: Intermarriage among Natives and Immigrants”, Social Science Research, 30 (2), June 2001: 289-312.

Rego, A. da Silva (1966), O Ultramar Português no século XIX, Lisboa, Agência Geral do Ultramar.

Renee, Romano 2003, Library Journal, 3/15/2003, 128 (5): 104.

–  –  –

Sreenivas, Mytheli (2003), “Emotion, Identity and the Female Subject: Tamil Women’s Magazines in Colonial India, 1890-1940”, Journal of Women's History, 14 (4), Winter 2003: 59-82.

Telles, Edward Eric (1995), Race, class and space in Brazilian cities, Joint Editors and Blackwell Publishers: 395-406.

Telles, Edward Eric (2004), Race in another America: the significance of skin color in Brazil, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

Valério, Nuno (1998), “O significado económico do império colonial para um pequeno poder. O caso de Portugal”, I Encuentro Peninsular de Historia de las Relaciones Internacionales, Zamora, Fundacion Rei Afonso Henriques: 53-69.

Wong, Linda Y (2003), “Why do Only 5.5 percent of Black Men Marry White Women?”, International economic Review, 44 (3), 2003: 803-826.

1 Cunha, 1964: 1.

2 Cunha: 2.

3 Cunha: 13.



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