Globalization And Its Impacts On The Portuguese SocietyDocument Transcript
This piece of work is dedicated to two very special people that, just until
recently, were, all the way through, in the centre of my life – my beloved
grandparents, Alvaro and Orides. Dear grandparents, take this work as a sweet
dedication to you and all the love, wisdom and inspiration you gave me along all the
years we passed together.
I would like to thank my parents for believing in my instinct and being so
patient and comprehensive on my persistence in doing the Master of Arts degree in
Media and Cultural Analysis, in which this dissertation is inserted.
I would also like to thank all the personnel involved in the organization,
running and teaching of this inspiring M.A. degree – all my classmates, whose names
I prefer not to mention, in the danger that I might forget someone (the discussions we
had together during the sessions were certainly a stimulus for the confrontation of
ideas, as well as the breakthrough of new streams of thinking); Peter Beaman, Peter
Riley-Jordan and Morris Ward (three technicians in the Department of Social
Sciences who provided technical support for computers and AV equipment); Ann
Smith (the Departmental secretary); Lynn Dutton (the Departmental administrator)
Deirdre Lombard (person in charge of general administration concerning
postgraduate students); and last, but not least, all the teaching staff – Dennis Smith,
Graham Murdock, Michael Pickering, David Deacon, Jim McGuigan, Dominic
Wring, John Downey, Ruth Lister and Natalie Fenton. Among these, special thanks to
Dennis Smith, my supervisor, for accompanying and helping me, since the very start,
in finding the best structuring and elaboration for the dissertation.
My last thanks are directed to four entities that were particularly ready in
providing me important information for the elaboration and success of my research –
the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Portuguese National Statistical
Institute, the Portuguese Foreign and Frontiers Service/General Inspection of Work
and the European Commission/EUROSTAT.
Since I was very young, I‟ve always been interested in questions concerning
the world around me, and most particular the human condition. Questions dealing with
what we are, where do we come from or where are we heading, have always been a part
of my spirit.
Thus, this work represents the culmination of several years of incubation and
maturation, period where I came to the conclusion that if I intended to answer such
intriguing questions, I needed to search, read and study a great deal. In doing so, I found
an extremely contemporary phenomenon that gives answers to those interrogations and
has direct implications in our daily lives – Globalisation.
This dissertation was object of thought, study, investigation, research and
subsequently presentation as an attempt to show and give a complete glance over a huge
effort, investigation and theorization made in Portugal by a vast number of respected
and accredited Portuguese researchers and authors over the issue of globalisation and its
impacts in the Portuguese society. Thus, it comprises the international and global
context in which Portugal is inserted, as well as, many aspects of the Portuguese society
– its economy, poverty, welfare, social policies, employment/unemployment, colonial
policy, labour market, migratory movements, European integration, local power,
ethnical and national identities. As the elaboration of the dissertation will show, when
broaching and analysing such accounts, the mentioning, analysis and criticism of other
crucial accounts – namely, the main views and theories from foreign investigators and
authors – was also not forgotten.
The structure, the chapters and content of this dissertation were carefully
thought and chosen in order to give a consistent and complete sight and diagnostic of
the Portuguese reality in relation to phenomena such as Europeanization, but, mainly, in
relation to globalisation.
The work is divided into four distinct chapters, which, at the same time, are
well interconnected to each other. In the first chapter, then, entitled “The Processes of
Globalisation”, I will concentrate myself in presenting a sort of introduction on the
notion of globalisation and its real contours. A special emphasis will be given to the
repercussions and subsequent structural changes produced by the globalisation
In the second chapter, on the other hand, entitled, “The Dynamics of
Migrations in Portugal”, my focus will be on the dynamics of the migratory
phenomenon, either in Portugal, either at a global level.
The third chapter, entitled, “Social Illness/Risk in a Globalized World”,
broaches the social risks produced by the globalisation process itself, with a special
reference to the Portuguese conjuncture.
Finally, the last chapter – “Conclusion” – represents an attempt to summarize
all the ideas and accounts brought up, analysed, discussed and criticized along the
dissertation, giving a special highlight to the prospecting and foresighting of future
List of Contents
I. THE PROCESSES OF GLOBALISATION 6
1. The notion of globalisation
2. What’s driving the globalisation process?
3. Repercussions of globalisation
II. THE DYNAMICS OF MIGRATIONS IN PORTUGAL 28
2. Flows of Migrations
III. SOCIAL ILLNESS/RISK IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD 55
2. Portugal: semi-periphery, intermediation and risk
IV. CONCLUSION 69
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 1
The world is currently experiencing new unprecedented processes and
phenomena: people around the globe are more connected to each other than ever before;
information and money flow more quickly than ever; goods and services produced in
one part of the world are increasingly available in all parts of the world; international
travel is more frequent; and international communication is commonplace.
The economical, social, political and cultural interactions had a huge boost over
the last three decades causing the emergence of a powerful phenomenon known as
The Era of Globalisation, as it has also been called, is fast becoming the
preferred term for describing the current times. Just as the Depression, the Cold War
Era, the Space Age and the Roaring 20's are used to describe particular periods of human
history, globalisation describes the political, economic, and cultural atmosphere of
Such phenomenon, then, is characterized by a vast complex process that
reaches a diversity of areas of the social life, from the globalisation of the productive
and finance systems to the Information and Communication Technologies‟ (ICTs)
Revolution, from the erosion of the National State and rediscover of the civil society to
the increasing of the social inequalities, from the huge migrations of people such as
emigrants, tourists or refugees to the increasing power and monopoly of both the
multinational enterprises and the multilateral finance institutions, from the new cultural
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 2
and identity practices to the various options and choices of what many call the new
This diversity originates a big contradictory and heterogeneous impact both in
the national and local structures and practices, in the sense that, in each of the areas of
social life, such diversity is the product of a quarrelsome negotiation and relatively
undetermined results between what is conceived as local or endogenous and what is
conceived as global or exogenous, between ruptures and continuities, new risks and old
securities, known uneasiness and unknown uneasiness, emergencies and inertias.
Due to all these reasons, and contrarily to what the term globalisation
superficially connotes, we are undoubtedly, then, witnessing a sight of processes of
change that are highly contradictory and uneven, as well as variables in their intensity
and in their direction.
This complexity, which is big in general, is most spotted and identifiable in
semi-peripheral societies such as the Portuguese. One of the most salient features of
what many call as hegemonic globalisation, is the fact that both the costs and
opportunities that it produces are very much unevenly distributed in the interior of the
global system, causing, then, the exponential rise of social inequalities between rich and
poor countries, and among the rich and the poor within the same country over the last
The Central Countries, which preside the hegemonic globalisation, are the ones
who have been taking and gaining all the advantages from such process, maximising the
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 3
opportunities that it creates and transferring to other less developed nations the social
costs as well as other costs that it also produces. Today, to be a central country, means
precisely to have the capability and power to maximise the advantages and minimise all
the inconvenient generated by the hegemonic globalisation. On the contrary, and
generally speaking, over the last decades, together with their worrying low standards and
patrons of life, the peripheral countries suffered a severe degradation of their position in
the global system. Such events happened, precisely because, contrarily to what happened
to the central countries, the peripheral ones were forced to bow and face the
responsibility to sustain all the costs of the hegemonic globalisation loosing out the
opportunities created by such process. Today, being a peripheral country signifies
Between the central and peripheral countries are located the semi-peripheral
countries. In these countries, the precise accountability and repercussions of the
hegemonic globalisation is much more unclear and unpredictable. In a first perspective,
such countries simultaneously show some capability to capitalise and take grantees from
the advantages as well as a reasonably vulnerability when facing the risks and
difficulties. These countries are condemned to face two ambiguities: either they can ride
the hegemonic globalisation in order to obtain some promotion among the hierarchies of
the global system, either they can be ridden by the hegemonic globalisation and, thus,
conducted to relegation. Countries such as Ireland and Spain, for example, seem,
undoubtedly, to suit the first possibility, while Greece and Portugal still seem to be
undecided, even though, Portugal seems (more than ever) to be condemned to the second
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 4
In semi-peripheral countries, then, the tensions and disjunctions roused by the
hegemonic globalisation tend to be even more intense and to have uncertain and
unpredictable effects. In the Portuguese case, the complexity of these processes tend to
thicken due to distinct reasons:
- On one hand, the Portuguese society suffered, almost simultaneously,
the impact of two different types of hegemonic globalisation: the
neo-liberal globalisation and the integration in the European Union.
One can clearly say that the European Union, due to its specific
politics, functioned as a kind of „pillow‟ and „damper‟ that attenuated
the more drastic impacts of the neo-liberal globalisation.
- On the other hand, one has to bear in mind that all of these events
occurred very rapidly and in a very short period of time. The 1974
April 25th Revolution was the starting point for the creation and
consolidation of modern structures and practices in the Portuguese
Society. Such event, just like all the revolutionary crises, happened in
a turbulent way and included, for a very short period (even though,
for a significant time), a socialist moment and a reliable alternative
for the capitalist modernity. Having in mind the international context
at the time, many say, then, that the revolution inspired and moved
by the socialist movement was inspiring, but out of time!
The Portuguese society reconstructed itself in a short period of time (25-30
years) as a modern national society and did it in a time where the logics of national
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 5
development were in crises and blocked or, at least, strongly conditioned by the
hegemonic globalisation. The Portuguese society, then, modernised itself, as a national
society, by contradictory logics, some of which (and probably the most decisive) with a
strong non-national, european and global crease. In other words, the modernization of
the Portuguese society wasn‟t an earlier stage preceding the impact of globalisation and
europeanization. Contrarily, the Portuguese society modernized itself thanks to the
impact, effects and repercussions of those phenomena. Thus, there are two distinct
realities concerning the Portuguese conjuncture that need to be frizzled and stressed –
the national reality and the european or global reality.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 6
THE PROCESSES OF GLOBALISATION
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 7
1. THE NOTION OF GLOBALISATION
Over the last three decades, the transnational interactions – globalisation of the
production systems, financial transferences, dissemination (at a global scale) of
information and images through the mass media, massive migrations of people (tourists,
migrating employees or refugees) suffered a dramatic intensification all over the world.
The extraordinary amplitude and depth of these transnational interactions made some
authors reflect and take them as a rupture in relation to the previous configuration of the
trans-bordering interactions and, thus, as a new phenomenon designated as globalisation
(Featherstone, 1990; Giddens, 1990; Albrow and King, 1990), global formation (Chase-
Dunn, 1991), global culture (Appadurai, 1990, 1997; Robertson, 1992), global system
(Friedman, 1994), cultures of globalisation (Jameson and Miyoshi, 1998) or global
cities (Sassen, 1991, 1994; Fortuna, 1997).
These writers and many others, as we will see, take globalisation as a
multidimensional and multifaceted concept, and, thus, they attribute it many contours
that are very complex and, sometimes, even hard to target, identify and define. Because
it‟s such a sensible issue to broach and discuss, there are various accounts from several
authors. All of them come up with definitions, which they believe are the most
But, despite such different accounts, we may build up a notion of globalisation
that summarizes all of them into one single approach. In its most general and
uncontroversial sense, one might, then, consider globalisation as a process of a rapid
developing of complex interconnections between societies, cultures, institutions and
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 8
individuals worldwide. Also, one might conceptualise four important and undisputable
icons, dimensions, which characterise the process of globalisation:
A World Capitalist Economy
An Interconnected System of Nation-States
A World Military Order
An International Division of Labour
In other words, today‟s reality of a globalized world is highly dominated by a
world capitalist economy and, still, very much dominated by an interconnected and
interdependent system of Nation-States. Today‟s new world order is strongly organized
in a military orderliness, while the status of worldwide labour is, currently, passing
through a new period of an international division.
Apart from these undisputable contours of the globalisation process, other
authors contribute to the discussion of „globalizing‟, expressing particulars and extremes
important opinions, which gives us a wider and much complete view, perspective of
what globalisation might be, after all.
One of them is Harvey. In his assumption, then, the process of globalisation is
“a process which involves a compression of time and space” (quoted in Tomlinson,
1997: 170), causing the effect of shrinking distances through a dramatic reduction in the
time taken – either physically or representationally – to cross them, and, thus, making
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 9
the world seem smaller and in a certain sense bringing human beings closer to one
John Tomlinson, on the other hand, defines the process of globalisation as “a
process that „stretches‟ social relations, removing the relationships which govern our
everyday lives from local contexts to global ones” (Tomlinson, 1997: 171). In a much
general and simplistic view, one could well define globalisation, like Anthony Giddens
refers, as simply “action at distance” (quoted in Tomlinson, 1997: 171).
Anthony Giddens, in his book “The Consequences of Modernity”, broaches the
role of the communication‟s revolution in contemporary society. He argues that the rapid
development of communication technologies represents a key influence in the whole
process of globalizing. He emphasises the fundamental determinism of the emergence of
the communication‟s era, which produced a new reality of worldwide social relations.
Thus, he conceptualises globalisation as “the intensification of world-wide social
relations which link distant localities in a such a way that local happenings are shaped
by events occurring many miles away and vice versa”. Such intensification, in Giddens
opinion, is, then, due to the development of communications.
Many writers, and most notoriously Manuel Castells, emphasise one of the
most obvious and central features which characterises the global village that we tend to
live in: a global economy. To quote Castells:
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 10
“The informational economy is global. A global economy is a
historically new reality, distinct from a world economy. A world
economy, that is an economy in which capital accumulation proceeds
throughout the world, has existed in the West at least since the sixteenth
century, as Fernand Braudel and Immanuel Wallerstein have taught us.
A global economy is something different: it is an economy with the
capacity to work as a unit in real time on a planetary scale. While the
capitalist mode of production is characterized by its relentless
expansion, always trying to overcome limits of time and space, it is in
the late twentieth century that the world economy was able to become
truly global on the basis of a new infrastructure provided by information
and communication technologies. This globality concerns the core
processes and elements of the economic system.”
(Castells, 1996: 92-93)
Four other authors – David Held, Anthony McGrew, David Goldblatt and
Jonathan Perraton – contributed to the discussion of globalisation by sharing their
accounts in the book Global Transformations. From all four of them, I selected and
highlighted David Held‟s attempt to define globalisation. In his words, then,
“globalisation might be thought of initially as the widening, deepening and speeding up
of worldwide interconnectedness in all aspects of contemporary social life, from the
cultural to the criminal, the financial to the spiritual” (Held, 1999: 2).
In Global Transformations, one must, surely, emphasise the relevance of three
general theses on globalisation brought up by all four authors. They identified, then, the
following theses, tendencies:
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 11
The Hyperglobalist Thesis
The Sceptical Thesis
The Transformationalist Thesis
Concerning the Hyperglobalist Thesis, basically, what it proposes is that we are
entering a new period in History, going beyond the Nation-State towards the global age.
In the hyperglobalists‟ assumption, globalisation is, predominantly, an economic
The Sceptical Thesis tries to contradict the hyperglobalist perception by
drawing in statistical evidence showing that globalisation is not a recent phenomenon. In
fact, it goes back a long way. The sceptics demonstrate that international trade is,
mostly, regionalist than global. Thus, globalisation cannot be conceived as „the spirit of
The third tendency – the Transformationalist – proposes that globalisation is
transformative, but is not addressed as an economic phenomenon. It is, rather, a multi–
faceted phenomenon. It embodies various forms: Culture, Politics, Economic, etc.
In Leslie Sklair‟s perception, on the other hand, capitalism represents a central
role in the way globalisation functions. He thinks that the study of globalisation revolves
around two main phenomena, which he believes have been increasingly significant in
the last few decades. Such phenomena are, “first, the emergence of a global economy
based on new systems of production, finance and consumption driven by globalizing
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 12
transnational corporations (TNC)… The second is the idea of a global culture, focused
on transformations in the global scope of particular types of TNC, those who own and
control the mass media (Herman and McChesney 1997), notably television channels and
the transnational advertising agencies” (Leslie Sklair, 2002: 36). This global culture, as
Sklair calls it, is dominated by “particular patterns of consumption”, and very much
characterized as a culture and ideology of consumerism at the global level.
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, one of the pioneers in the study, investigation and
analysis of the globalisation phenomenon in Portugal, takes it as being “a posterior
stage to the internationalisation and multinationalization, because, contrarily to those
processes, it claims and marks the end of the national system as a central nucleus of the
organized human activities and strategies” (Santos, 2001: 32).
In Santos‟ perception, if one revises and carefully analysis all the studies and
researches about the processes of globalisation, we clearly can see that we are facing a
multifaceted phenomenon with economic, social, political, cultural, religious and
juridical dimensions that are interconnected in a complex way. Besides that, instead of
fitting in the western modern patron of globalisation – globalisation as a homogenisation
and standardization – sustained both by Leibniz and Marx, and both by the theories of
modernization and theories of dependent development, the globalisation occurred over
the last three decades seems to combine either the universalization and the elimination of
the nationals frontiers, either the particularism, local diversity, ethnical identity and the
return of the communitarism. At the same time, it interacts in a variety of ways with
other transformations (which are concomitant to the process itself) located within the
global system, such as the dramatic rise of the inequalities among rich and poor
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 13
countries and among the rich and poor within each country; the overpopulation; the
environmental catastrophe; the ethnical conflicts; the massive international migration;
the emergency of new States and the failure or implosion of other; the proliferation of
civilian wars; the organized crime at a global scale; the formal democracy as a political
condition for the international assistance; etc.
Santos emphasises the idea, and I strongly agree with him, that the globalisation
phenomenon is far from being a linear and consensual process. In his assumption, it‟s a
false idea to stand up for the contrary! In his words, “globalisation, far from being
consensual, is, on one hand, a vast and intense field of conflicts between social groups,
States and hegemonic interests, and, on the other hand, between social groups, States
and subaltern interests; and even in the interior of the hegemonic field there are some
significant divisions” (quoted in Boaventura de Sousa Santos, 2001: 33).
Still analysing and criticizing Santos‟ theorization on the globalisation
phenomenon, I would like to stress what I believe to be a fundamental argument
proposed by the author, and which, in my view, represents a key to a better
understanding of the real contours of the globalisation phenomenon. In the writer‟s
perception, then, the processes of globalisation happen by a variety and distinction of
ways. He says, and I agree with him, that, normally, when people talk about
globalisation they pre-assume that it‟s about a whole of very intense and rapid processes
of de-territorialization and re-territorialization, and consequently, of dramatic expansive
transformations as well as retractives. In reality, however, the processes of globalisation
don‟t always occur in this way. Contrarily, it happens that some times they are slower,
more ambiguous and their causes seem to be much more undefined.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 14
Thus, Santos proposes a distinction between what he calls globalisation of high
intensity – concerning the rapid, intense and relatively mono-casual processes of
globalisation – and globalisation of low intensity – concerning the processes that are
slower, diffused and much more ambiguous in their casualty.
The distinction proposed by Santos has a great utility, in the sense that it helps
to identify in clearer way the unequal relations of power that are subjacent to the
different modes of production of the globalisation process. The globalisation of low
intensity tends to dominate in situations where the exchanges are less unequal, in other
words, where the differences of power (among countries, interests, actors or practices)
are small. On the contrary, globalisation of high intensity tends to dominate in
conjunctures where the exchanges have a high crease of inequality and the differences of
power are high.
After having investigated, read, studied, analysed, and commentated on the
authors that I believe put forward the main theories about the globalisation phenomenon,
I come to one conclusion: globalisation is, certainly, a multi-complex process, involving
many communication processes, raising, at the same time, many issues, questions,
doubts and certainties. Thus, there will always be different perspectives about the
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 15
2. WHAT’S DRIVING THE GLOBALISATION PROCESS?
The Global Cultural Economy
Many say that we are entering in a new era. An epoch, increasingly, stigmatised
by the existence of various „flows‟, „scapes‟ and processes of „coming together‟. In this
new time, also referred by many as a „postmodernist‟ time, the spaces separating people
from each other are, actually, shrinking and being compressed in such a way that it
creates what Castells calls a “timeless time”. Because of the development and
application of new technologies, long distance is no more an obstacle for the
intercommunications and exchanges of experiences around the world.
This new age is highly characterised by the existence of several „networks‟ that
are interdependent and interact with one another. In Castells assumption, such
interaction makes what he names the “Network Society”.
But, the central problem of today‟s global interactions is the tension between
cultural homogenisation and cultural heterogenisation. Most often, homogenisation
advocates argue that we live under a cultural process of Americanisation very much
identified as a „commodifying‟ process. Many say that this cultural process leads into a
„new global cultural economy‟.
Some authors, most particularly Arjun Appadurai, conceptualise the new global
cultural economy in a very complex way. Appadurai argues that it “has to be understood
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 16
as a complex, overlapping, disjunctive order, which cannot any longer be understood in
terms of existing centre-periphery models” (Appadurai, 1990: 296).
Appadurai proposes a multidimensional understanding of the „global cultural
flow‟. Thus, he conceives five dimensions, fields whose interactiveness makes today‟s
global cultural economy:
By „ethnoscape‟, Appadurai means the landscape, the realm of persons “who
constitute the shifting world in which we live: tourists, immigrants, refugees, exiles,
guestworkers and other moving groups and persons which constitute an essential feature
of the world, and appear to affect the politics of and between nations to a hitherto
unprecedented degree” (Appadurai, 1990: 297). Appadurai characterises this
ethnoscape as the „woof of human motion‟. By that, he means the fact that more persons
and groups, increasingly, have a necessity of having to move, or the fantasies of wanting
By this second „scape‟, it is understood that “the global configuration, also
ever fluid, of technology, and of the fact that technology, both high and low, both
mechanical and informational, now moves at high speeds across various kinds of
previously impervious boundaries” (Appadurai, 1990: 297).
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 17
One has to consider and speak about „finanscapes‟, because “the disposition of
global capital is now a more mysterious, rapid and difficult landscape to follow than
ever before, as currency markets, national stock exchanges, and commodity speculations
move megamonies through national turnstiles at blinding speed, with vast absolute
implications for small differences in percentage points and time units” (Appadurai;
Appadurai relates this scape to “both the distribution of the electronic
capabilities to produce and disseminate information (newspapers, magazines, television
stations, film production studios, etc.), which are now available to a growing number of
private and public interests throughout the world, and to the images of the world created
by these media” (Appadurai, 1990: 299).
Finally, Appadurai proposes a fifth dimension denominated as the „ideoscape
dimension‟. „Ideoscapes‟ have to do with the ideologies of states and the counter-
ideologies of movements oriented to capturing state power or, at least, a part of it. In
Appadurai‟s words: “these ideoscapes are composed of elements of the Enlightenment
world-view, which consists of a concatenation of ideas, terms and images, including
„freedom‟, „welfare‟, „rights‟, „sovereignty‟, „representation‟, and the master-term
„democracy‟” (Appadurai, 1990: 299).
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 18
The whole of these phenomena, their specific and peculiar features, together
with their interconnection, built a new complexity made of cultural and economic flows
– a Global Cultural Economy.
The Consolidation of the Corporate Power
In the last years, largely due to an increasingly lax regulatory environment,
major media companies have been buying and merging with other companies, creating
even larger media conglomerates, whose activities have now a global reach. Such
mergers have rapidly changed the organization structure and ownership pattern of the
This enlargement and consequent growth of power of media conglomerates has
been a centre of much discussion and concern. Many say, and I strongly corroborate,
that the growth of media outlets does not necessarily mean a better content that serves
the public interest. In fact, even with new media outlets, it is still a handful of media
giants who dominate and influence what we see, hear and read. The harsh reality is that
the expansion of new media technologies has only strengthened the power and influence
of new media conglomerates.
In the last decades, one observed an unprecedented expansion, growth of media
companies, where media outlets became available to the public via cable, satellite, and
Of course, larger size meant that media companies could have more available
capital to support and finance expensive media projects. The importance of the notion of
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 19
synergy became an increasingly fundamental concept for the success of the media
productivity, growth, enlargement and subsequent success. By „synergy‟, is meant the
potential of a particular company to sell a specific product across various and successive
media, avenues. Quoting David Croteau and William Hoynes:
“‟Synergy‟ refers to the dynamic in which components of a company
work together to produce benefits that would be impossible for a single,
separately operated unit of the company. In the corporate dreams of
media giants, synergy occurs when, for example, a magazine writes
about an author, whose book is converted into a movie (the CD
soundtrack of which is played on radio stations), which becomes the
basis for a television series, which has its own Web site and computer
games. Packaging a single idea across all these various media allows
corporations to generate multiple revenue streams from a single
concept. To do this, however, media conglomerates had to expand to
(David Croteau and William Hoynes, 2001: 74)
This increasingly enlargement of media conglomerates‟ power, was,
fundamentally, due to a deregulation policy started back in the seventies. This policy
intended to liberalize and increase the competitiveness among corporations, in an
attempt to obstruct and, in fact, stop the concentration of monopolies.
By 1970, then, the FCC introduced new regulations requiring networks to
purchase their programs from independent producers. According to the FCC, such
measures had the deliberated intention to “limit network control over television
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 20
programming and thereby encourage the development of a diversity of programs
through diverse sources of program services” (quoted in David Croteau and William
Hoynes, The Business of Media, 2001: 80).
Now, my opinion is that western society, and most particularly the Portuguese,
is currently dominated and manipulated by the power of media companies,
conglomerates. Much of the time, quantity does not mean quality. In fact, like many
others, I think that more channels do not necessarily mean more diversity. Also, more
content does not necessarily mean different content. But, media corporations persist in
arguing that many ownership regulations are no longer needed in this world of
proliferating media outlets.
A New Era: The Age of Convergence / A New World of Technology
Another extremely important and determinant feature of the „globalized world‟,
which, definitely, influence our daily lives, is the development of new technologies and
its inherent use by the media. Technology is in such a high level of development that
media are, actually, mixing and converging together. We are entering, then, in a new era,
a new epoch in the realm of telecommunications. Graham Murdock called this new
period of Time as the Age of Convergence.
As Murdock refers, “the age of analogue of communications is now coming to
an end. It is giving way to a new media landscape based on digital technologies”
(Graham Murdock, 2000: 35). Analogue technologies expressed information in
recognizable patterns – radio waves or fields of tone or colour, while digital
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 21
technologies create an abstract “world belonging exclusively to computers” (Feldman,
Digitalisation is, then, the central feature of the current age and is transforming
the face and functioning of the media – and, inevitably, the media from semi-peripheral1
countries as Portugal.
But, what are the contours of this convergence, after all? What fields of action
does it reach? Murdock, in Television Across Europe, tries to give some answers to such
questions. He concludes, then, that, although „convergence‟ may be defined in a variety
of ways, there are three undisputable features, processes:
The convergence of cultural forms
The convergence of communications systems
The convergence of corporate ownership
Regarding the convergence of cultural forms, many observers say that we are
entering a new era of re-composition of cultural forms. New cultural forms, such as CD-
ROMs and Internet websites, are bringing “the major forms of expressions together in
one place for the first time and allow users to move through the materials on offer in a
range of ways. They are no longer readers following a set sequence but navigators
mapping out personal routes” (Graham Murdock, 2000: 36,37).
For a better understanding of the term, see chapter III, “2. Portugal: semi-periphery, intermediation and
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 22
Despite the present existence of considerable technical barriers to systems‟
convergence, they are rapidly being overcome. By convergence of communications
systems, it is meant the mixing of technologies among the various media – television,
Mobile Phones, PC‟s, etc. In other words, for instance, today, it‟s already possible to
send and receive E-Mail messages via mobile phones, or, one may see a television
program in a PC screen.
The consequent effect of these changes and developments in the
communications systems is that it instigates a considerable interest among the major
broadcasting companies, who see the chance to sell services in a greatly expanded range
Thirdly, there‟s a convergence of corporations, of corporate ownership.
Innovations in digital technologies have led to a wave of new mergers, acquisitions and
3. REPERCUSSIONS OF GLOBALISATION
So far, then, it‟s clear that the globalisation phenomenon involves
multidimensional and multifaceted aspects, which have been suffering strong
intensifications over the last decades.
The phenomenon comprises economic, social, political, cultural, technological
and juridical dimensions that, at the same time, are interconnected and interrelated in
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 23
This interconnectedness is particularly consubstantiated by the increase of
power, monopoly and protagonism of multinational enterprises and, most notoriously,
media companies (Media Industry).
The expansion and dominance of Media Industry and subsequent marketization
has been the centre of much concern and discussion. Many say that it generates
pervasive effects in today‟s global society – multifaceted social wounds and instabilities
with inevitable consequences –, while others defend it and exalt its strengths and
Understanding the Market Approach
Over the last decades, then, there have been severe, significant changes in the
media industry, as companies have grown, integrated, and become global players. From
the market perspective, these structural changes are seen as normal and positive. Market
advocates defend such changes, arguing that they embody a normal evolution of a
growing and maturing industry. The structural changes of growth, integration, and
globalisation are nothing more than signs of companies positioning themselves to
manoeuvre and operate themselves in a new media world. From the perspective of the
market model, the concentration of media ownership is seen as the natural by-product of
a maturing industry.
Market Advocates argue that one shouldn‟t be so nostalgic about the media era
gone by. We live in a new age and we should approach it in a positive and enthusiastic
way. Today, they say, consumers have many more options for news than ever before.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 24
Also, there are less monopolies and a wider range of possibilities are available for
citizens. In the market approach, this new dynamic media environment means more
choices and better media for the consumer.
Vicissitudes and Concerns of the Marketization Process
Now, there has been a great concern, and I certainly include my self in such
realm of discussion, about the structural changes of media industry – specially, in
Portugal – for it raises serious and fundamental questions about what these structural
changes mean for diversity and independence in content and for the power of newly
emerging media corporations.
Cable television, for instance, broadcasts more raunchy, violent and sensational
entertainment than before its appearance, lacking in appropriate entertainment and
In my perspective, and surely in many others‟, the majority of media outlets
lack, fail in delivering content that is genuinely diverse and substantive.
Furthermore, as David Croteau and William Hoynes think, and I certainly agree
with them, “the fragmentary nature of the cable television world might even be
exacerbating cultural divisions in society, as segregated programming targets separate
demographic groups based on age, gender, class, and race” (David Croteau and
William Hoynes, 2001: 106). In reality, my personal sensibility tells me that this
situation is currently happening in Portugal, where the Power television (cable TV) is
huge in forming segments of spectators among society.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 25
The market approach promised less monopolies and more diversity from an
unregulated market, but the reality appears to be quite different, as new media giants
turn out to be a new form of monopoly themselves. They impose their rules and their
own pace in society, leaving an active and vibrant public sphere powerless and, thus,
The Contradictions of the Communication’s Convergence
Many say that the convergence of Media is causing serious and alarming
consequences in the functioning of human relations, and, thus, creating a new kind of
society. In this new information society, converged media, together with its innovations,
“have made major impacts on the relations between human beings and their
environments, and between differing groups and social sectors, but in ways that largely
enhance or recompose existing relationships” (Graham Murdock and Peter Golding,
Instead of bringing people together and reducing unit costs, the convergence of
communications seems to divide even deeper societies that have access to all of the
technological developments from those societies with rising inequalities of condition.
On the other hand, as the widespread use and availability of new forms of political
communication have set in place the possibility of radical transformations, changes of
organization and mobilization, they also instigate the centralization of political control,
as well as the migration of power from the civic political to the private corporate sector.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 26
I think the current situation introduces many intriguing questions and concerns.
The power of communication companies, either in Portugal, either in other parts of the
world, is currently challenging an important and crucial „body‟, which, in my opinion, is
a central feature of a real liberized democratic society – the public sphere.
An active public sphere of the people, and not the one created and manipulated
by the mass media, is, in my perspective, what makes people have the exact notion of
belonging to a community and, thus, the notion and sense of citizenship. As
corporations‟ power follows a marketization policy, strategy, my big concern is that it
might thin the role of citizenship.
Thus, in the presence of such reality – marketization and convergence of main
corporations –, there‟s an increasingly and fundamental necessity of an arising of
publicly funded communications organizations aiming to promote and restore the
pedagogical role of citizenship. As Murdock and Peter Golding stress, “finding ways to
develop this vision and construct an infrastructure to support it materially is the one of
the greatest challenges facing democracy over the coming decades” (Graham Murdock
and Peter Golding, 2002: 127).
Social Exclusion and Subsequent Emergence of a Migratory Necessity
One of the concerns of today‟s reality is the fact that citizenship deprivation,
together with other social deprivations such as livelihood, employment, earnings,
property, housing, minimum consumption, education, the welfare state, personal
contacts, respect, etc, might originate various social instabilities, namely social
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 27
exclusion, which, on the other hand, inevitably instigate people, who are victims of those
situations, to search for better opportunities and life conditions, and, thus, migrate.
Therefore, it seems to me that the discussion around the migratory dynamics is
also fundamental in the study, dissection and understanding of the processes of
globalisation. The debate on this issue will take place, then, in the next chapter, which
will broach the theme in a much profound and extensive way, giving special emphasis to
the migratory dynamics in the Portuguese society.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 28
THE DYNAMICS OF MIGRATIONS
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 29
As A. Zolberg (1983; 1989) argues, the theoretical emergence and development
of international migrations took place due to a „conceptual net‟ that tried to deduct what
„laws‟ induced the re-localization of human beings, independently from the fact that
such re-localization took place within the same juridical-institutional space or between
different juridical-institutional spaces. Only much more recently, theorists began to
realise and take under consideration, the fact that what, actually, defines the international
migrations as being a specific social process is the exercise of the right of sovereignty to
control who may enter, stay and belong to the National-State. In Zolberg‟s perception,
“[the international migrations process has an inherent] political character, since the
process itself not only comprises a physical re-localization but also a jurisdiction and
belonging change” (Zolberg, 1989: 405-406).
What has just been said doesn‟t mean that international migrations (as well as
internal migrations) are not determined by geo-political inequalities and formal or
informal auto-sustained migratory nets that are generated and developed between the
ones who leave and the ones who stay! On the contrary, it means that such determinants,
in the specific case of the international migrations, are subject of a political sanctioning
by the involved States that, on the other hand, significantly alters both the economical
and social determinants, and, thus, conferring a specificness to the processes of
migrations among States.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 30
As we can see, then, the phenomenon of migrations, and, subsequently, the
theory itself, being one of the manifestations and outcomes of the globalisation process,
is not as easy to spot, define and theorize about as it may first look, as it involves several
determinants, factors, variables and conditionalisms. Because it‟s such a complex
phenomenon, it‟s hard, even impossible, to draw a single theory about it!
Along the years, though, many researchers have been studying and analysing
the forces and flows of migrations (both migrations within the States and inter-State
migrations) at a global scale. One of them, Alejandro Portes, argues that “any general
theory about international migrations have to be capable of generating a whole of
explicative and forsight hypotheses about the following three questions: (1) what factors
determine the differences of international migrations flows existent among Nation-
States? (2) What individual and regional factors determine the different emigration
proportions existent in the varied emissary countries? (3) What factors determine the
variable modes of incorporation of the immigrants in the varied countries of
reception?” (Portes, 1997: 810).
Following the same scope of thinking, Maria Ioannis Baganha argues that there
are a variety of different theories about the migratory phenomenon. But the theory,
research and analysis that most interest in this work must surely be the one that answers
the following question: what are the impacts of the processes of economical
globalisation on the migratory flows both to and from Portugal?
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 31
In other words, the objective of this chapter is to present, analyse and
eventually criticize the macro structural impacts of the processes of economical
globalisation on the international migrations and, thus, on the Portuguese migrations.
One must also bear in mind the following question: Do such processes wall and diminish
the power of the State system over the regulation of international migration movements?
Portugal is clearly, then, a good option to be object of empirical study, since
(together with the rest of Southern Europe) it became, during the 80‟s, a pole of
attraction for a rising number of immigrants and, thus, a sort of privileged „laboratory‟
for the study and analysis of the impacts of the globalisation processes on the gestation
of flows of international migrations, as well as on the power of the States who regulate
Over the last decades, then, there has been a profound evolution and mutation
of the flows of international migrations. Such changes are due to a variety of
determinants and conditionalisms. Factors such as political convulsions, social
instability and serious ethnical conflicts took place in Eastern Europe, as well as bloody
religious conflicts, poverty and war in Africa are definitively on the basis of the changes
occurred in the world and, thus, had the effect of turning South of Europe on an area of
imigrational attraction, either for economical immigrants, either for refugees.
In Baganha‟s words though, “it wasn‟t just the increment of geo-economical
inequalities generated in both east and south of Europe [intensified by the mentioned
factors] that altered the present tendency of migratory movements! The recent
intensification of the economical globalisation processes is, indeed, promoting a
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 32
profound re-structuring on the Industry; a re-localization of the sources of workmanship
supply; a re-directing of the capital flows; and new patterns of international
competition” (quoted in Santos, 2001: 137).
All of these dynamics are currently changing the world and, in an
unprecedented way, are undermining the labour and social policies, as well as altering
the structure and functioning of the employment market in western and southern
The successive enlargement of the European Common Market, followed by the
beginning of the construction of the European Union (EU), generated an innovating
situation for the majority of the southern European countries. Along this process, the
frontiers within the EU space were abolished, but no common policy on migrations was
adopted in relation to „nationals of 3rd countries‟.
Conjunctures as geo-economical and political interests together with a
diversification of historical pasts (namely colonial) blocked the attainment of consensus
among the countries involved in migratory policies.
The recent history of south of Europe as being an imigrational area is partially,
then, determined by the history of the new world, which is dominated by the rise of geo-
economic inequalities, the intensification of the processes of economical globalisation
and the construction of a political and economical block – the EU.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 33
On the other hand, as the processes of construction of the EU are still
underway, the elaboration of a common migratory policy is still on the waiting desk,
and, thus, the result is that both recent migratory movements and processes that have
been occurring in the southern European countries still result from the way each of those
countries have been positioned and inserted themselves in such processes.
One should have in mind, then, that the recent migrational history of southern
Europe is clearly a sum of specific national cases, consensus and differences, which are
related either to the respective historical pasts, either to the geo-economical and political
interests of each of the countries that form and constitute this geographical area.
As it was mentioned before, the main objective of this chapter is to analyse the
macro structural impacts of the processes of globalisation on the migratory flows
generated both to and from Portugal. The nature of such macro structural impacts
depend, then, on the positioning and insertion of Portugal in the processes also
mentioned before. And, in this respect, it‟s clear that, since the migratory flows to and
from Portugal are essentially international flows of labour, such flows depend on the
employment offer existent on the international market located within the geographical
macro-system in which Portugal is inserted. On the other hand, one has to remind the
fact that the positioning of Portugal in such geographical macro-system is highly defined
both by its colonial past and present position as a member State of the EU.
The next paragraphs, then, will focus on the analysis of the present dynamics of
the migratory processes both to and from Portugal.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 34
2. FLOWS OF MIGRATIONS
What best characterizes the tendency of the present migratory processes in
Portugal is the simultaneous existence of what is called flows of entrance and flows of
exit of migrants that have similar economical profiles.
In the paragraphs ahead, I will centre my attention in analysing the main
features of two huge movements of migratory flows – migratory flows of entrance and
migratory flows of exit.
Migratory Flows Of Entrance
The investigation carried out by Portuguese researchers about immigration
shows that the nature of the migratory flows that have been happening since mid80‟s is
mainly bipolar and the immigrant population tends to concentrate itself in a particular
geographical area – the metropolitan area of Lisbon (MAL), which over the last decades
has registered a notorious decrease of industrialization together with an accentuated
increase of the tertiary sector (Baganha 1996, 1998a).
If one analyses the main features of the migratory tendencies in Portugal, the
first remark to be made must be the fact that the stock of foreign population in Portugal
increased uninterruptedly from 1980 until 1997, even though, this rise had some
oscillations and different rhythms of increase along this period (Charts 1 and 2).2
In fact, after the intense rise in the 2nd half of the 70‟s (the annual mean rate of growth was 11,9%,
between 1975 and 1981), the rhythm of growth of foreign settlement slows down along the decade of the
80‟s, and rises again during the 90‟s.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 35
C h a rt 1 - L e g a lly re s id e n t fo re in g p o p u la tio n in P o rtu g a l, b y
c o n tin e n ts o f o rig in :1 9 8 0 to 1 9 9 9 (in th o u s a n d s )
T h o u san d s
1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Y e a rs
T o ta l A fric a N o rth A m e ric a S o u th A m e ric a A s ia E u ro p e
Note: The statistics for 1994 include the special regularization process (1992/93).
Source: Fonseca, M., M.J. Caldeira, and A. Esteves (2002), “New forms of migration into the European
south: Challenges for citizenship and Governance – the Portuguese Case.” International Journal of
Population Geography, 8(2): 135-152.
On the other hand, the nationalities of the countries of origin as well as the
socio-demographic profile of the immigrants also show some crucial significant
changes, which result in a progressively complexity of the composition of the foreign
population existent in Portugal. Such complexity is exemplified by the increasing
number of nationals that come from countries with which Portugal never had privileged
economic neither historic bows (Ukrainians, for example), and asked for their
regularization during the processes of extraordinary foreign regularization taken place
along the 90‟s (1992 and 1996, respectively).3
Concerning the features of the foreign population resident in Portugal, there are available several
syntheses. The pioneer work on this field is Esteves et al., 1991. More recently, other works, like
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 36
From the socio-demographic perspective, the main features of the foreign
population with legal residence in Portugal are as follows:
High residential concentration in the MAL
A man/woman ratio higher than 1 (a 1,4 figure, during the period from
1990 to 1995)
A disproportionate percentage of population with the age between 25
and 45 years old.
An insertion in the labour market dominated by a group of occupations
that are socially less valorised, namely, the categories of workers of the
production of the extractive and transforming industries, as well as
conductors of both transport and fixed machines.
(Baganha, 1996, 1998a)
However, if one disaggregates these features by nationalities, some
considerations become worthy of observation and analysis. The foreign population in
Portugal, then, is clearly composed by two segments that are well differentiated and, in
fact, bipolar. Nationals of European countries and Brazil essentially compose the first
segment (Chart 2). This segment shows a dispersed residential patron in relation to the
MAL; a high percentage of one‟s own account workers in relation to the Portuguese
population, and an occupational structure in which the importance of the scientific and
Malheiros, 1991; Baganha, 1996, 1998a, 1998b; Pires, 1993; and Baganha, Ferrão e Malheiros, 1998
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 37
technical professions together with the superior administrative office and director
professions definitively places this segment of foreign population at the top of the
Portuguese socio-professional structure.
The second segment concerns the foreign population that is fundamentally
constituted by nationals from the PALOP countries (see note in table 1) and a sub-group,
although less significant, but still in constant rise composed by nationals who come from
countries such as Zaire, Senegal, Pakistan, Romania, Moldova and, much more recently,
Ukraine (Table 1). The population located in this segment is clearly situated at the basis
of the Portuguese socio-professional structure4, and is, predominantly (and
economically) incorporated in the informal labour market. In this respect, an inquiry
made in 1997, interviewing the active immigrant population, revealed that 47% of men
and 21% of women were working without any type of contract. More than that, the
majority of the interviewees were from the PALOP countries and were working in the
building construction, 74% of whose had no labouring tie (Baganha, Ferrão and
One should stress that the results, and most particularly, the high percentage of
immigrants is in perfect congruity with all the data published over the 90‟s decade
(Luvumba, 1997; França, 1992; Costa et al., 1991).
It‟s still possible to indicate a third segment whose numerical expression is still very low, but it is
associated with certain nationalities and particular forms of economical insertions. Nationals who come
from Mozambique, India and China, then, compose this segment.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 38
Table 1: Distribution of foreigners with residence and "permanence" permits, by regions of
Residence permits (stock, "Permanence" permits (issued in
Area of origin Number Percent Number Percent
Total 219,215 100.0 123,700 100.0
European Union 60,503 27.6 NA NA
Eastern Europe -- -- 68,498 55.4
Ukraine -- -- 44,161 35.7
Russia -- -- 4,830 3.9
Moldova -- -- 8,505 6.9
Romania -- -- 7,307 5.9
PALOP 97,989 44.7 17,126 13.8
Cape Verde 48,828 22.3 5,815 4.7
Angola 21,708 9.9 5,627 4.5
Guinea Bissau 16,275 7.4 3,664 3.0
Brazil 23,663 10.8 22,568 18.2
China 3,727 1.7 2,974 2.4
India 1,323 0.6 2,796 2.3
Pakistan 1,005 0.5 2,665 2.2
Other countries 31,005 14.1 7,073 5.7
- Value too low to be included in the data published by the National Statistical Institute (INE).
NA Not applicable.
PALOP is an acronym for "Paises Africanos de Lingua Oficial Portuguesa," or "African Countries
with Portuguese as the Official Language.", which are Angola, Mozambique, Sao Tome and
Principe, Guinea Bissau, and Cape Verde.
National Statistical Institute (INE, 2001) Demographic Yearbook and ACIME/SEF/IGT (2002)
Relatório sobre a Evolução do Fenómeno Migratório. Lisbon, ACIME/Serviço de Estrangeiros e
Fronteiras/Inspecção Geral do Trabalho, Março de 2002.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 39
The bipolarity of the migratory flows towards Portugal doesn‟t represent,
however, any type of singularity. In fact, recent studies and researches about cities such
as New York, Tokyo, London, Singapore and Hong-Kong (Sassen, 1991, 1994, 1996;
Findlay et al., 1994, 1996; Li et al., 1998) have consistently demonstrated that the
migrations to these cities are strongly featured by bipolar migratory streams. The first
one is composed by highly qualified workmanship, which is linked to management, new
technologies and knowledge. This migratory tendency is attracted by the central nodules
of the economic system due to economical strategies and to both scientific and
The second stream is constituted by a workmanship that, independently from its
qualification, is attracted to these cities due to economic opportunities (partially
generated by the stream itself) aiming activities that essentially don‟t require any type of
specific qualification, such as catering, cleanliness, personnel and domestic services and
a whole of small businesses, namely, ethnical restaurants, domestic repairing, and
activities associated to leisure. In other words, there has been an increase of activities
known as traditional, which show a particular feature: they are currently being generated
by the most modern sectors of the economy, as well as, in the same urbane space.
The impacts of the globalisation processes on the gestation of bipolar flows
have not only been object of study and analysis in the so-called global cities such as
New York or Hong-Kong, but also in a rising number of European cities as Amsterdam,
Paris, Barcelona, Milan and, as it has been mentioned in the last paragraphs, Lisbon!
This last group of cities of the EU show similar features both in terms of types of
migratory flows and modes of economical insertion. Thus, some writers, and most
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 40
particularly, Body-Gendrot, have denominated this particular group of cities as “soft-
global cities” (Body-Gendrot, 1996).
The investigation done over the last decades on the immigration phenomenon
has also showed that, in all these cities, a significant and rising number of immigrants
are involved in activities that don‟t require any type of qualification, and, more than that,
such peoples don‟t show any kind of attraction nor interest. In this context, and if one
takes a look at the present restrictions to the legal entrance of economical immigrants,
the opportunities of work within this segment of the labour market are progressively and
systematically being fulfilled by illegal immigrants (or, at least, working illegally). This
situation may potentially generate other situations of economical exploitation and social
exclusion for many of the new „unwanted‟.
In short, adding to the present bipolarity of the migratory flows, it seems that
there has been an aggravation of a trench, specially, concerning the levels of
remuneration, the employment stability and working conditions between the primary
labour market – essentially open to highly qualified nationals and immigrants – and the
secondary market, where the overwhelming majority of the opportunities of work
opened to newcomers immigrants is being generated. The rising of this segment of the
labour market, highly characterized by its precariousness, flexibility and partial
submersion in the informal economy, has frequently been considered as one of the most
salient impacts of the currently undergoing economical globalisation.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 41
If one takes under consideration this line of reflection and thinking, one could
clearly, then, tend to explain the actual imigrational flow towards Portugal by the
following way: the end of the colonial empire, the entrance of Portugal in the Economic
European Community (EEC)/European Union (EU) and subsequent re-structuring of its
economy placed Portugal in a international structure that allows the country to take over
a new role in Europe, either in relation to its European partners, either to the so-called
third countries. This re-positioning allowed Lisbon (to where converge the majority of
the benefits created as a result of this new position) to become a pole of migratory
attraction, or, in Body-Gendrot‟s words, a “soft-global city”.
All the studies, works and investigations about migrations in Portugal have
showed that the migrational dynamics in Portugal are strongly influenced by the
a) Institutional parameters in which they occur (EU/Portugal;
b) Strategies adopted by the agents (take, for example, the options of
market chosen by the Portuguese enterprises over the building
construction) and by the actors involved, which are connected by
formal and informal networks of both local and transnational nature.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 42
Just as an illegal Cape Verde immigrant once said: “generally speaking, we
may say that, people immigrated with the dream of Portugal as being an initial destiny.
Portugal is like an entrance door from where you can dream of better destinies”
(interview quoted in Baganha, 1998a).
All of the mentioned factors are, however, particularly, relevant in the present
context, since the actual legal structure of migrations within the EU tends to promote
internal flows of migration from the poorer countries towards the richer countries
(Portugal/Germany), and from Africa and the East towards southern Europe (PALOP
On the other hand, as Baganha says, “the actual institutional structure of the
EU is promoting the transference of responsibilities attributed to economic agents that
come from more developed welfare-states – where both legal protection and social
benefits are high – to less developed welfare-states – where both protection and labour
benefits are low, contributing in that way to a re-distribution of labour within the EU”
(Baganha, quoted in Santos, 2001: 147). In other words, the present existence of
freedom in the circulation of capital, services, goods and peoples without an
harmonization of the national fiscalization, systems, social costs of labour and social
security systems is determining both a significant distribution of workmanship within
the EU space and mining the so-denominated “European Model”.
Like Baganha‟s perception, my believe is that, on one hand, Portugal, much
more than being perceived as having an intermediary position in the global system, it
must be considered as a „spinning plate‟ that distributes (imports and exports)
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 43
workmanship depending on the institutional structure in which it operates. On the other
hand, Lisbon (a „soft-global city‟) and its metropolitan area represent the centre of such
Migratory Flows Of Exit
Until the 1973-74 oil crisis and subsequent economic recession, the policies of
immigration of the principal European countries might be essentially characterized by
“open door policies” (Baganha quoted in Santos, 102: 148). In other words, during the
sustained phase of growth after the 2nd world war, the industrialised Europe incremented
a policy of recruitment of workers from overseas. This measure instigated the migration
of several millions of non-communitarian migrants and their familiars whose
establishment was facilitated by the existence of workmanship necessities, as well as
possibilities of economical and social mobility. A generalised conviction that such
conjuncture was temporary and could easily be inverted once the instabilities of the
labour market were resolved and the immigrants, when having bargained the necessary
savings or confronted with situations of unemployment, could return to these countries
Portugal only became substantially involved in this intra-European migratory
cycle from the 60‟s decade onwards. Between 1960 and 1974, about a million and a half
of Portuguese people abandoned the country, mainly, towards France and Germany. In
the particular case of France – country where the overwhelming majority of emigrants
established themselves during this period –, the economic insertion of the Portuguese
people may be characterized, essentially, by its huge concentration in activities related to
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 44
two economical sectors: personal and domestic services, and building construction and
In the beginning of the seventies, the traditional European countries that were
receptors of the Portuguese workmanship closed their frontiers to the arrival of new
immigrants and created several incentives aiming the return of immigrants to their
countries of origin.
This particular change in the migratory policies from the main European
countries affected, particularly, Portugal, since it generated a significant return of
emigrants already established in both France and Germany. To aggravate this situation,
such change occurred simultaneously with the 1974 Revolution and consequent
independency of the Portuguese ex-colonies in Africa, which meant the promotion of the
return to the country of about 500.000 civilians and 100.000 soldiers, generating, in that
way, a sudden rise of the active population. In other words, while the end of the Empire
stimulated an abrupt increase of the active population, the international economic crisis,
which favoured the implementation of anti-migratory policies in the principal countries
where the Portuguese emigration had a destiny of establishment, prevented emigration to
preconize its traditional role as a demographical „escape valve‟ and „social network of
security‟ in a time of accentuated economical deterioration.5
Information and data obtained in Barosa and Pereira, 1988; Baganha, 1991; Baganha and Peixoto, 1997;
Stahl et al., 1982; Secombe and Lawless, 1985.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 45
After having analysed all of these conjunctures, I spot what I believe to be an
intriguing and odd situation, which is as follows: Isn‟t it paradoxal (at least, apparently)
that in a such serious and austere economical situation, with which the country was
involved from 1975 until 19856, the Portuguese emigration didn‟t suffer a boost and, on
the contrary, it remained with very low rates? I found so!
In order to satisfy my curiosity, I searched for possible explanations. I found,
then, several theories, but the one which, in my opinion, best describes and explains
such nonsense is the one proposed simultaneously by three authors – Baganha, Ferrão
and Malheiros. In the book entitled, “The external migratory movements and their
incidence over the labour market in Portugal” (title translated to English), the authors
present the possible explanations for the situation. In their view, then, the 1975-1985
period well demonstrates that the geo-economical instabilities among receptor and
emissory countries don‟t generated international movements of work all by themselves!
In fact, and as the Portuguese case shows, the existence of international migratory flows
also depends on the political sanctioning of the involved countries, that is, on the
existence or absence of a favourable institutional environment, and, finally, on the
strength and consistency of the active migratory networks in both ends of the trajectory.
In the Portuguese case, they say then, the whole of these factors would only be
available again from mid-eighties, period where the Portuguese emigration re-starts to
grow due to several conditionalisms (Baganha, Ferrão and Malheiros, 1998: 49):
In reality, the number of unemployed people, which in 1974 had a figure of 86 thousand, raised, in the
following year, to the 222 thousand figure and continued to increase, reaching 446 thousands of people in
1983 (in other words, 10.5% of the active population). In 1985, unemployment finally starts to descend
(Barosa and Pereira, 1988).
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 46
The creation and structuring of migratory movements directed to new
destinies such as Switzerland.
The re-vitalization of networks already existent, like the emigration to
Spain, Germany and transatlantic destinies.
New conditions of international mobility for workers, which were
generated by the integration of Portugal in the European Community.
The legal framing established at the communitarian level in relation to
the cession of workmanship services, as it is the case of the „detachment
of workers‟ in Germany.
If one closely analyses the main features of the Portuguese population present
in three European countries – Spain, Switzerland and Germany – during the 1996-year,
the singularity of the Portuguese migrations may be well exemplified by stressing two
aspects: the numerical relevance of the Portuguese population and the economical
insertion of the Portuguese emigrants in the labour markets of such countries.
If one starts to analyse the features within Spain, one may observe that, in 1996,
there were about 37.716 immigrated Portuguese people, 58% of whose were illiterates or
didn‟t have any degree of scholarity, while 36% only had completed the primary school.
In the region of Madrid, where the overwhelming majority of this population had a
residence, 79% were involved in professions such as domestic services, restoration and
hotel management, and building construction and public works.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 47
In the same year, on the other hand, there were 137.081 Portuguese immigrants
with annual or permanent residence titles in Switzerland, 79.347 of which were
economically actives; 19% of this active population were engaged in building
construction, while 21% worked in the restoration and hotel management sector; the
annual mean of the seasonal entrance occurred over the period from 1991 until 1996 was
approximately about 38.000 workers; the estimative for the number of illegal
immigrants were roughly between 20 and 50 thousand; the economic incorporation from
both the illegal and seasonal immigrants essentially happened in the economical sectors
mentioned before – restoration and hotel management, and building construction and
Finally, if one takes a good look at the statistics of the population in Germany,
one can clearly see that, in 1996, there were 130.842 of legal Portuguese living in that
country, 27% (35.327) of which had arrived there over the previous four years. Adding
to these numbers, one must not forget all the Portuguese working for Portuguese
enterprises linked to the building construction and public works sector, and that were
temporary sent to the country. In this field, the number of Portuguese registered in the
Federal Labour Institute with a regime of rendering services was, at the end of
November 1997, 21.481. This figure represented about 15% of the total 145.000 workers
registered with such working regime. In this respect, the hierarchy by nationally was as
follows: Polish, Portuguese, Irish, British and other nationalities. In the same year, the
Portuguese embassy estimated that at least more than 15 thousand Portuguese were
working irregularly for Portuguese employers in this sector of the economy. The
German syndicates calculate that approximately 150 thousand Portuguese were and are
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 48
still working the construction sector, which means that more than 100 thousand
Portuguese were working illegally.7
These data evidence about the Portuguese emigration in Europe indicate the
revival of a traditional emigrational stream, in other words, the exit of individuals
motivated by the demand of better economic conditions, technically referred as
migrations “with well defined objectives and a determined time”. Countries such as
Switzerland, Spain and Germany are, then, the targets of this migratory movement
But, what these data also shows is that the profile of the Portuguese emigration
is, like in the past, classified as an economic emigration essentially constituted by
manual workers who have low rates of qualification and that they insert themselves in
what is called the dirty or less paid occupations, which means that they exercise
professions that were exercised by Portuguese emigrants during the sixties and
The entrance of Portugal in the European Community (EC), occurred in 1986,
was a crucial moment in its history, as it incremented two situations. Firstly, it allowed
the Portuguese firms to subcontract its working strength in the EC, which meant, for
example, a raise of the concentration of many thousands of Portuguese workers in
Germany (especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequent German re-
unification), reducing, in that way, the workmanship available in that country. Secondly,
simultaneously with the rise of the abroad workmanship demand for the building
Information and data obtained in Baganha and Góis, 1999; Baganha and Peixoto, 1996, 1997.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 49
construction, the integration of Portugal in the EC canalised the country for a substantial
volume of structural funds, which have been applied in railways and communications
infrastructures, as well as in the construction of public buildings, temporally raising in
that way the workmanship national necessities in this sector.
During the year 2000, an enquiry was undertaken in order to study and analyse
the Portuguese emigrants who were working in the building construction sector of the
EU.8 The results of the interviews allow one to conclude that the detected motivations
for emigration are the same as the ones detected for the emigrants in the sixties decade,
who, in its large majority, departed to France. In other words, as Baganha says, “when
one emigrates, he/she is not voting with his/her feet, but rather accepting the fact that, if
the country is not changing, then is necessary to depart for a while in order to continue
living in Portugal” (quoted in Santos, 2001: 152).
From all what it has been said, one may conclude that the present migratory
dynamics in Portugal are essentially being determined by four main factors:
1. The new parameters that regulate the circulation of people, goods and
services in the EU space.
2. The network of information and contacts that the newly arrived PALOP
immigrants detain in specific economic sectors, which are characterized
as having high levels of informality, labouring flexibility and
precarious working relations.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 50
3. The transference to other European countries of a substantial part of the
domestic working force and the vacancies resulted from that
4. The fact that the actual situation shows clear economical benefits for
the short time and differed and diffused costs, either financially, either
In terms of the social impacts, it must be stressed that the actual migratory
situation has some worrying aspects, namely, the ones generated by the fact that the
replacement of the Portuguese national workmanship is taking place in an artificial
environment of complementarity, that is, where, apparently, the immigrant workers in
Portugal are fulfilling the not occupied or abandoned vacancies left by the Portuguese
workers. There is, then, profound unsuitableness between the emigration from Portugal
and the immigration to Portugal. Thus, the social costs for the medium/long term that
result from this situation may well be high, either for the Portuguese society, either for
the migrants involved in it, while the economical costs will depend, at least partially, on
the evolution of the emigrational flows.
After having presented and analysed all the relevant accounts and data, allied to
my personal feeling and sensibility, I must conclude that the present position of Portugal
in today‟s conjuncture – a spinning plate in terms of workmanship distribution – won‟t
There were made 18 interviews to Portuguese workers working, or at least with a working experience, in
Germany and in the building construction sector. These interviews were conducted by Luís Cavalheiro
during the year 2000.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 51
suffer significant changes, or, in other words, Portugal will continue to be the South of
Europe and the North of Africa for the coming years.
In this highly internationalised world, one of the most consensual sovereign
rights of the nation-State is to control who can enter and stay in its territory and
subsequently belong to the entire national space. In the exercise of this right, the State
promulgates and implements legislation aiming the regularization of the following
aspects of the relation foreign citizen/national State: entrance, permanency, acquisition
of nationality and expulsion from the national territory.
Thus, any migratory policy needs to try to solve two crucial questions, which
are as follows: how many immigrants may the country receive? And what profile should
such immigrants have?
In this respect, like G. Borjas argues, “the policy to be implemented depends on
the welfare that one intends to promote – the nationals‟, the immigrants, the rest of the
world‟s, or one of the possible combinations among these three” (Borjas, 1996: 72-80).
In the particular case of Portugal, until 1996 – year of the latest Extraordinary
Regularization of Illegal Immigrants –, the policies implemented to regulate the
migratory flows, unequivocally, show that the government essentially legislated with the
presupposition that the country only attracted significant flows of immigrants coming
from countries with Portuguese as an official language. But, what‟s more significant is
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 52
the fact that the Portuguese government introduced several legal mechanisms of what is
called positive discrimination in relation to nationals coming from countries with
Portuguese as an official language and showed clear signs that the presence of
immigrants, particularly from the PALOP, would be tolerated independently from the
fact that such presence was legal or illegal. In other words, Portugal, despite having
joined the Schengen space and consequently having accepted the voluntary share of the
sovereign right to control the national frontiers, regulated immigration in accordance
with its geo-strategic interests and circumstantial necessities of the economy (Baganha
and Góis, 1999; Baganha et al., 2000).
The present conjuncture of migrations in Portugal, and particularly the
immigration‟s, may also be explained by the fact that, since March 1995, the Schengen
Application Convention cessed the obligation of nationals from Russia, Ukraine,
Romania and other East European countries to ask for a visa concession. This situation,
allied to the free circulation within the Schengen space, potentially generated the
immigration to Portugal of migrants deriving from those regions. Portugal, then, became
an attractive country for the traffic of networks of workmanship.
Facing these changes, and under the pressure of accusations made by several
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the mass media about the high volume of
nationals coming from East of Europe in the labour market and various forms of
exploitation, one has been observing a significant change in the policies in Portugal.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 53
In short, the analysis on the migratory flows and dynamics both to and from
Portugal over the last quarter of the 20th century, makes me believe and conclude that,
despite the current processes of economical globalisation and its various inherent
disruptive impacts, a conceptualisation of the world as being an international system
based on the sovereign rights of the nation-States is still the one that best allows one to
understand the present international migratory processes.
On the other hand, and vastly speaking, countries that receive immigrants
today confront a migration context that in many ways is different from that experienced
in earlier decades. The frequency and speed with which people can move between
countries and continents means that many can simultaneously maintain social, political,
and even economic ties in two or more societies. Transportation and communication
technologies have thrown into question the „permanence‟ of leaving a society of birth
behind, and have transformed the ways in which newcomers build new economic, social,
and cultural lives in the societies where they choose to settle.
Unlike earlier eras, migrants today come from every region of the world and
represent an incredible array of linguistic and cultural heritages. Moreover, the places
that receive them, which are overwhelmingly cities in North America, Europe, and the
Asia-Pacific region (Australia, New Zealand, and the countries of East and Southeast
Asia), quickly become kaleidoscopes of cultures, identities, and histories. These cities
are the bedrock of integration – the places where the cultural diversity of today's
newcomers, as well as the challenges of living together as a community, are brought
together in neighbourhoods that are truly multiethnic rather than homogeneous urban
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 54
The diversity of today's migration flows, however, does not end with culture,
language, or social class. While the vast majority arrive as legal migrants, some skirt
around immigration laws and management systems, and experience a precarious life
defined by an absence of legal status with respect to the economy and social institutions
of the receiving society. The vast majority of newcomers make an active choice to build
a life in a new country but others, due to political and military turmoil or persecution,
are forced into migration and a state of „statelessness‟ that may last for years. In the case
of the refugees, for example, the experiences of persecution and long-term forced
displacement pose particular challenges for reconciliation with the imposed status of
being a migrant and successful settlement in a new society.
As we can see, then, today‟s globalisation processes – global flows of people,
capital and labour – generate social ambiguities, complexities, profound transformations
and disparities. These instabilities have been causing a great concern among writers,
researchers, politics and a whole of „elite‟ thinkers, which, on the other hand, have been
theorizing on what they call the social illness/risk of today‟s globalized world.
The discussions around all these social instabilities, and particularly the ones
existent in the Portuguese society, and their subsequent implications will be extended in
a broader and much incisive way in the following chapter.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 55
SOCIAL ILLNESS/RISK IN A GLOBALIZED
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 56
Statistics, worldwide, have been showing that there has been an increase of the
inequalities in the distribution of richness and, despite the intensification of global flows
of capital, labour and migrants, the extension of the markets, the globalisation of the
policies and progresses in communications, the fact is that the opportunities to improve
life conditions are, more than ever, inaccessible to the majority of the world population.
In Ulrich Beck‟s perception, this situation is reported both in southern and
northern countries. In his view, in today‟s global capitalism, there is a progressive
tendency towards an approximation between the social structure of the industrialised
countries and the polarized structure of the southern countries, which is highly
characterised by diversity, indistinctness and insecurity (Beck, 2000).
The phenomenon of social polarization, or, as Beck calls, brazileanization,
which is particular noticed in the configuration of employment (increasingly precarious,
discontinuous and informal), is presently reaching even the countries that were known as
having the highest rates of full employment. In his words, then,” countries belonging to
the so-called pre-modernity and where the importance of informal and plural-active
work is high may well reflect the future image of the also so-called countries of later
modernity” (Beck, 1998: 219, 2000: 93).
Jock Young, on the other hand, spots what I also consider to be one of the
perverse repercussions of today‟s globalisation phenomenon. In his words, then, “ the
transition from modernity to later modernity may well be seen as a passage from an
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 57
including society to an excluding society, that is, from a society, which the main feature
was the assimilation and incorporation, towards a society that separates and excludes”
(Young, 1999: 7). Young also relates exclusion with violence and crime. In his
perception, chronicle deprivation may lead the poor to crime, in the same way as anxiety
in the presence insecurity lead the rich to intolerance and persecution.
Taking even further the polarization and insecurity argument, two other writers
– Martin and Schumann – stress the fact that the contemporary world is currently facing
new dramatic changes. In their view, and I certainly agree with them, the increase of the
distance among rich and poor, as well as, the uncontrollable „explosions‟ of violence are
giving place to a new strategic of “social apartheid”, that is, to the proliferation of
closed condominiums, private militias and sophisticated systems of vigilance to protect
the richer and powerful (Martin and Schumann, 1996).
In the next pages, then, I will broach and analyse the problematic of what many
call the globalisation of the social risk, with a special look and emphasis to the particular
case of Portugal. The analysis will focus on the globalisation and Europeanization of the
Portuguese society and its effects on poverty and social inequalities.
2. PORTUGAL: SEMI-PERIPHERY, INTERMIDIATION
One of the main features of the globalisation phenomenon is the fact that it
deals with processes of dialectic interaction among global dynamics and local forces,
and, because of that, the final outcome of their impact in a particular region or place is
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 58
determined either by the intensity of the globalisation factors, either by the intensity of
the local responses to it. On the other hand, it clearly seems that the impacts of
globalisation and subsequent probability to determine corrosives effects over the
different domains of social life are associated with the position of societies within a
highly hierarchized global system.
The effects of the processes of globalisation and subsequent reactions generated
in non-central societies – mainly those open to social interaction –, show, on one hand, a
greater incapacity to seize opportunities, and, on the other hand, a greater exposition to
constrains due to the debility and inexistence of endogenous factors. As Mingione and
Pugliese say, “in locations, which the hyper-mobility of the global capital left behind,
the negatives consequences are more evident in terms of unemployment and sub-
employment, environmental degradation and community decadence” (Bonanno et al.,
In Pedro Hespanha‟s perception, the negatives impacts of globalisation
(specially, economical) in periphery countries are very extensive and manifest
themselves in a strong and visible way. The author argues that “such impacts evince
themselves, almost all the time, in the instability of poor systems (although feasible) of
basic security, radical changing in both the investment and employment opportunities,
and resignation of the regulatory function of the State in the economic life” (quoted in
Santos, 2001: 182).
Octávio Ianni, on the other hand, recons that it‟s very difficult to detect and
exactly determine the real source for the present global illness, due to the existence of a
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 59
vast number of causes that determine such situation. The author concludes that these
difficulties make the process of globalisation (or Globalism, as he also calls it) itself
invisible and insidious. In his words, then, “globalism does not born in a prompt and
finished status nor is visible and evident. It slowly reveals itself either to the observation,
either to the spirit. It appears and disappears, depending on the place, angle of vision,
perspective or imagination. Some times, it seems to be inexistent and, other times, shows
itself as being obvious and strident” (Ianni, 1997: 218).
Portugal is a good example of a society that is very vulnerable to the negative
impacts generated by the economical globalisation. Due to its semi-peripheral condition
within the global context, Portugal is a country that shows certain characteristics – such
as a degree of debility in its mechanisms of economical, social or cultural regulation,
and high social heterogeneity –, which favour a big opening to the penetration of
hegemonic forms of globalisation.
This last feature – high social heterogeneity of the Portuguese society – is not
only responsible for a particular vulnerability to the processes of globalisation but also
for an unequal and contradictory impact of such processes over the different sectors of
society. Due to the close relations that exist between the phenomena of globalisation and
modernization in societies with intermediate development, such as the Portuguese, the
differences between the various segments within the same society become particularly
relevant. Thus, the segments of society that are less modernized detain a minor
resistance or negotiation capacity to support and sustain the effects of globalisation, and,
because of that, they suffer the greater destructive effects.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 60
However, and like Kenneth Gough argues, one needs to stress an important
aspect, which is as follows: the people who belong to less modernized sectors of society
have the capacity to invent ways of dealing with local manifestations of global
phenomena, such as forms of cultural resistance generated by the necessity to survive,
networks of primary solidarity supported by domestic unities and their communitarian
aggregates, and vehicles of political survival as the mass media or voluntary
organizations that generate international helping programs (Gough, 1968).
Thus, local societies do not only use their traditional institutions to sustain the
pressures coming from both the macro-processes of industrialization and urbanization,
but also try to manipulate and control the external agents, including public institutions
and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) (Alger, 1992: 80).
Inequalities and Poverty
Social inequalities and, particularly, inequalities in the distribution of incomes
are strongly associated to poverty and social exclusion. In Portugal, statistic data show
that such inequalities are high, as well as, higher than the rest of the countries of the EU,
even though there is a tendency for the configuration of distinctive groups of countries:
the four Nordic countries with poverty rates around 5%, the central countries where the
rates oscillate between 10% and 15% and the southern countries, including England, as a
third group presenting rates around the 20% figure (EC – European Commission,
Poverty rates are calculated in reference to families‟ liquid incomes that are lower than 50% of the
national mean rate.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 61
Other tendency studies based on Family Budget Inquiries show that poverty
rate, in Portugal, increased between 1987/88 and 1995 (Vogel, 1997: 87) and there was a
deepening of the inequalities in the income distribution, mainly between 1990 and 1995:
while, in 1990, 20% of poor people in the Portuguese society lived with 11,7% of the
national income, in 1995, those people lived with 10,5% (Silva, 1999: 92).
In a recent and deeper study about the evolution of poverty in Portugal along
the eighties‟ decade – based in the Inquiries of 1980/81 and 1989/90 –, another
researcher, Leonor Vasconcelos Ferreira, concluded that “the incidence of poverty, both
in family and individual terms, present values that are systematically superior in
1989/90 in relation to 1980/81” (Ferreira, 2000: 259).
Another source destined to measure poverty in Portugal, using a distinctive
methodology and based on felt necessities, spots a poverty rate in Portugal around the
18,3% figure (roughly 552 thousand families and 1.711.000 individuals), as well as, the
4,8% figure for the very poor population. On the other hand, if one analyses the statistics
by districts, one can clearly observe the existence of huge internal disparities in the
intensity of poverty in Portugal, with the higher values to be concentrated in Alentejo –
region which is located in central/southern Portugal – [Ministério para a Qualificação e o
Emprego – MQE – (translation to English: Ministry for the Qualification and
The concept of poverty used by this source is not based on the income, but rather in the privation of
certain basic necessities (nourishment, clothing, lodgement, social protection and health cares, among
others). The families that were under a certain threshold in more than three categories were, by that fact,
considered to be poor and the ones that declared not to be able to satisfy none of the basic necessities were
considered to be very poor.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 62
According to this source, the majority of the heads of the household are old
people (55%), with very low scholar qualifications (59,8%), getting retiring pensions
(64,8%) and living in very degraded houses (65,2%). However, there are many families
with active heads of the household and whose poverty situation is due to low salaries
(27%), unemployment (16,8%), economic crisis (15%) and inactivity (6,7%).
Still according to the same source, a reasonable percentage of poor families is
covered, in one way or another, by the public system of social protection, but only
41,5% beneficiate from the regular State
Table 2 – Poverty rate: proportion of people
under the «poverty line» before and help and a very short portion – 2,5% – do
after social transferences (excluding
pensions) (%) - EU, 1995
not need to sustain health expenditures.
Before transferences After transferences
B 30 18
DK 29 11 The insufficiency of social
D 24 18
EL 22 21 protection from the Portuguese State to
E 27 19
F 28 16 debellate poverty may also be proved by
IRL 34 21
I 21 19 data from the European Community
L 26 14
NL 23 10
Household Panel (ECHP) – see table 2.
A 27 17
P 28 24 In 1995 – date immediately before the
UK 34 20
EU-13 26 18
beginning of the application of the
Source: EC, European Community Household Panel (ECHP),
1999. EUROSTAT‟s reproduction, 1999.
Rendimento Mínimo Garantido – RMG
– (translation to English: Minimum Income Guaranteed), then, the social transferences
in Portugal („P‟, in table 2) only lightened the high poverty rate (24%, according to this
source) in 4%, which represents a value well under the European average.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 63
Many writers, most particularly Silva, emphasize the decisive role of the RMG
in the reduction of poverty rates in Portugal (Silva, 1999: 95). 11 According to official
data reported to 1998 though, only 3,4% of the Portuguese population is getting benefit
from this measure, which, in fact, represent a very small part of the poor population
(CNRM, 1999: 16).
In Hespanha‟s perception, “although the RMG represents an important
measure for the reduction of the most dramatic cases of poverty in Portugal, it cannot
dispense other complementary measures to fight poverty and exclusion from other strata
of population which live just above the threshold of the RMG” (quoted in Santos, 2001:
Finally, another recent study on salary inequalities in Portugal shows that there
was a continuous deepening of those instabilities between 1986 and 1997 – greater in the
beginning of the 90‟s decade and minor from 1995 onwards (Rodrigues and
At the European level, statistics have been showing that, over the last two
decades, together with the rise of inequalities, there has been a general tendency towards
an increase in the levels of income. In an integrated economic space such as the EU, one
is to expect that the effect of the forces of market will increasingly be stronger,
strengthening both competitiveness and economic progress, but, on the other hand,
The author mentions a study, which would show that the effect of the RMG‟s pecuniary instalment is
responsible for the reduction of poverty, in Portugal, to half.
The Minister of Tutelage, who was in duty in the year 2001, corroborates this vision. In his words, then,
“the RMG won‟t end poverty, but only the more extreme and intolerable forms of poverty! It does not
represent an alternative to the whole fight against exclusion, but rather a measure that complements the
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 64
raising social exclusion, unemployment and poverty. Thus, I definitely think that we are
in the presence of a very serious and concerning situation. Just like Joachim Vogel‟s
account, my believe is that “at the long term, it seems that we‟ll assist either to the
decline of the traditional family, either to the rising difficulty for the member States of
the EU to be able to finance social protection systems under the pressure of
unemployment aggravation” (Vogel, 1997: 148).
The Portuguese Social Model and Europeanization
Only after the reestablishment of democracy in 1974, there were undertaken the
first steps to create and develop the first systematic policies destined to construct a
Welfare State in Portugal. From then on, then, there was a rapid rise of the social
expenditures in the public expenditure. However, because such rise happened in a period
of serious international economical crisis and political hesitation about the model of
social regulation itself, the actual instauration and application of fundamental social
policies became compromised, and, thus, the real protection system that was produced
was a mere imitation of the advanced Welfare States belonging to industrialized
countries. That‟s why Santos well argues that “the Portuguese State confined itself to
construct a quasi Welfare State” (Santos, 1990).
Consequently, following the expansionist period occurred after the dictatorship
fall, emerged a new phase of budget restrictions, which prevented Portugal to
approximate itself to the welfare model followed by the majority of the European
countries. Adding to the low rate of public expenditure in the social sector, the adopted
others, has to be articulated with them, and helps to detect new necessities of intervention” (Rodrigues,
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 65
measures had small reach and were relatively inefficient. In 1960, only 36% of the
population truly beneficiated from the protection system existent at that time. This
proportion rose to 78% in 1970 and 87% in 1990 (Carreira, 1996).
The progressive opening of the Portuguese economy to the exterior – both by
the subordination to the rules of international organizations and institutional integration
in the European space – positioned Portugal in a very vulnerable situation in relation to
the dynamics of the forces of market and supranational policies.
In a world, where there have been profound changes in the global economy,
each region and locality suffer different impacts and, thus, different consequences. But,
there seems to happen common outcomes in all regions of the world, from which
Portugal cannot escape. Socially speaking, as we all know, there are serious concerning
problems in today‟s reality (at a global scale). They are as follows:
Unemployment of long duration
Atypical work and informal work
Many authors talk about the fact that Portugal doesn‟t have a true Welfare
State, not only due to its low patrons of social provision but also because there is a lack
of other distinctive and truly Welfare State features, such as: the pre-existence of a social
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 66
pact founder, a consolidated relation between economical accumulation and social
legitimacy, and an understanding of social citizenship as being a whole of citizen rights
which the State is obliged to guarantee (Santos, 1993: 52).
Hespanha, on the other hand, argues that “the problem with the Portuguese
Welfare State comes from its hybrid nature, which combines, at the same time,
corporatism, universalism and liberalism in the same way as society combines
corporative, solidarity and market interests” (quoted in Santos, 2001: 190).
If one compares the social policies of the Southern European countries, it
becomes clear that there are flagrant similarities. Thus, many writers have called such
similarities as the syndrome of the south. Leibfried, Ferrera and Rhodes, when
describing them, talk about a lack of determination (softness) of the State, an assisting
pluralism, some particularisms and institutional favouritism, and a public-private
promiscuity (Leibfried, 1992; Ferrera, 1996; Rhodes, 1996). These writers also stress the
crucial importance of other elements for the good functioning of the Welfare State in
Southern European countries, which are as follows: the central role of the family, local
communities and informal economy.
According to Ferrera‟s argument, there are some political-institutional
particularities about the southern countries (and, obviously, Portugal) that are surely on
the basis for their distinctive Welfare States – a weakness of State institutions, an
importance of the role of political parties and a high ideological polarization, with a
divided, radical and maximalist left wing (Ferrera, 1996).
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 67
Leibfried, on the other hand, describes the Latin-Mediterranean model as being
a regime of social protection inspired by social Catholicism. His view is that, in
rudimental and residual Welfare States as the Portuguese, it remains the old traditions of
social provision by religious organizations, familiar instalments (with a paternalist
nature and by charity exercised by individuals), as well as, an important role carried out
by the associative sector (Leibfried, 1992).
Two other authors, Rhodes and Palier, when broaching and analysing the
systems of social protection in South of Europe, summarize the main distinctive
elements already mentioned, but also proposed other important elements, as, the absence
of a colligation of forces in a favour of a developed and re-distributive Welfare State;
political, cultural and classes disparities; and the patron of poverty in the south of
Europe – characterized by the lowest mean salary, greatest inequality in incomes,
highest rate of poverty and greater family dependency relatively to social transferences
(Rhodes and Palier, 1997: 607).
In another recent study on the future of the European social model, Ferrera,
Hemerijck and Rhodes stress an interesting change. They assert, then, that those
countries that deviated themselves from their initial cluster in order to adopt a
combination of policies capable of capitalizing the better from the different welfare
regimes are the ones that seem to be having more success in solving their problems
(Ferrera et al., 2000: 52).
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 68
In Portugal, on the other hand, the running of social policies and reforms seem
to be influenced (to a great extent) by patrons of political decision from the European
Union and by correspondent social programmes adopted by the various member states.
The European condition of Portugal also influenced the social policies by other forms.
Firstly, by the mode of structural funds (mainly from the FSE – Funds for European
Security) and cohesion (Delors Programmes I and II), which become decisive for the
implementation of programmes in areas such as employment, professional formation,
education, habitation and poverty. Secondly, by the mode of the European monetary
system, which turned the argument of convergence in an indisputable foundation for the
retraction of social policies, traduced in public expenditure cuts, strangling of social
security, freezing of salaries and social instalments, privatisation, reduction or closing of
public services. All of these certainly have inevitable consequences in the increase of a
vulnerability to exclusion and worsening for inequalities.
Today, the future of the Portuguese social model seems to be suspended and
forgotten. There are a whole of social reforms that are waiting to be analysed and
approved. Thus, there is, currently, a big debate in Portugal about this issue. Boaventura
Santos makes an important contribution for this debate, arguing that in the basis of such
impasse lies “a conflict between two global models of social protection reform: the neo-
liberal model, which defend a drastic reduction of social protection of the State, and the
European social model, which is highly compromised with an ample and universalistic
social protection, which, on the other hand, is based in citizenship rights” (Santos,
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 69
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 70
Overall Contextualization and Future Tendencies
From about mid 20th century on-wards, the world has been witnessing a
complex mutation in forms of also complex processes and phenomena. The fall of the
Berlin Wall in 1989, which marked the symbolic end of the Cold War, was the
fundamental and determining event that instigated the emergence of such global trends.
From that point on, then, internationalism and the idea of one world or of a global
village has suffered a great boost, especially due to the development of global
Over the last three decades, there has been an extreme intensification of
transnational interactions – economically, politically and culturally speaking.
Consequently, there has also been the natural emergence of a variety of questions, which
seek to make some sense of all changes and transformations that are happening in our
lives on a daily basis. One of the interrogations that have been coming to light is whether
we are entering in a new era and new model of social development.
Thus, there have been many discussions and debates around this issue, giving a
special emphasis to the real nature of the ongoing transformations in capitalist societies
and in global capitalist system as a whole.
Many say that the present time is a period of transition that combines proper
characteristics of the modern global system with others that are related to other systemic
or extra-systemic realities. In Santos‟ perception, the whole of these characteristics
interact and combine with each other in complex ways. In his words, then, “the
transitory global system is very complex, because it is constituted by three big
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 71
constellations of practices – inter-state practices, global capitalist practices and
transnational social and cultural practices –, which are profoundly interlaced in
accordance with undetermined dynamics” (Santos, 2001: 94).
One may call the present time as the “Post-Modernist” time, the “Information
Age”, the “Network Society”, the “Global Cultural Economy”, the “Neo-colonialist”
time, the “Capitalist” time, the “Technological Convergence” time or even the “Net-
citizenship” time, as, many have been calling it, but the reality is that new unprecedented
phenomena are, currently, happening.
David Held‟s argument is that “globalisation reflects a widespread perception
that the world is rapidly being moulded into a shared social space by economic and
technological forces and that developments in one region of the world can have
profound consequences for the life chances of individuals or communities on the other
side of the globe” (David Held, 1999: 1). Also for many, the concept of globalisation is
seen and associated “with a sense of political fatalism and chronic insecurity in that the
sheer scale of contemporary social and economic change appears to outstrip the
capacity of national governments or citizens to control, contest or resist that change”
(David Held, 1999: 1). In other words, it seems that the globalisation phenomenon,
together with its inherent forces, is unavoidable and uncontrollable, where the limits to
national politics are largely and forcefully defined and paced by globalisation itself.
It‟s clear, then, that we are currently witnessing a period of high opening,
impreciseness and bifurcation, whose future transformations are somewhat
unpredictable. The very nature of the global system itself is problematic and, as Santos
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 72
well argues, “the likely order is the order of disorder!” (Santos, 2001: 94). Under these
circumstances, it‟s understandable that the present time is object of several and
Some writers point out for two possible alternative readings about the present
changes of the global system and subsequent future routes: the paradigmatic reading
and sub-paradigmatic reading.
The first one, the paradigmatic reading, sustains that the end of the sixties and
beginning of the seventies marked a paradigmatic transitory period in the global system,
from which it will emerge a new social paradigm. One of the most suggestive readings
on this issue – the one proposed by Immanuel Wallerstein – says that the modern global
system entered in a new period of systemic crisis, which began in 1967 and will
continue to extend until the middle of the XXI century.
According to Wallerstein, the expansion of global economy is leading to an
extreme marketization of social life and to an extreme polarization (not only
quantitative, but also social) and, consequently, is reaching its maximum limit of
adjustment and adaptation and will soon exhaust “its capacity to maintain the rhythmic
cycles that constitute its cardiac beat” (Wallerstein, 1991a: 134).
The sub-paradigmatic reading, on the other hand, sees the present time as an
important process of structural adjustment, in which capitalism doesn‟t seem to be
having any lack of resources and adequate imagination. As it has been sustained by the
regulatory theories, the adjustment is quite significant, because it implicates a transition
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 73
from an accumulating regime to another.13 According to some writers, the emergence of
the present transitory period questions the limitations of the regulatory theories and
concepts, such as “regimes of accumulation” and “modes of regulations” (McMichael
and Myhre, 1990; Boyer and Drache, 1996, 1998).
As one would expect, all of these theories are questionable and are, in fact,
currently being questioned. The real dimension of the weakening of the Welfare State‟s
regulatory function is, today, one of the nuclear debates of both political sociology and
political economy. From all of these, it only stands out an unquestionable observation:
such Welfare State‟s functions have changed (or, at least, are currently under
transformation) dramatically and in a way that questions the traditional dualism between
national regulation and international regulation.
The coexistence of different interpretations about the globalisation phenomenon
is, probably, the most distinctive feature of our time. While, to some, globalisation is an
inevitable and controllable turbulence, to others, it‟s a presage of radical ruptures.
Among this last group of people, on the other hand, there are some who see
incontrollable dangers and others who see opportunities for unsusceptible
In short, today, there is the abundance of many uncertainties and contingencies,
which, at the same time, allows us to analyse, criticize, put in perspective, and comment
on possibilities and constructivism. In this respect, my great concern, rather then
claiming the emergency of an „anti-globalisation‟ movement, is to question in what
Aglietta (1979); Boyer (1986, 1990)
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 74
terms does the globalisation phenomenon, highly stigmatised by the Information Age, in
fact, run. In other words, does it run by the logic of marketization and profit? Or does it
run by the logic of defending equality, justice, citizenship and global Human Rights?
In my view, then, much of today‟s tendencies (and, in which, Portugal is
inherently inserted) are going towards a centralised, concentrated and manipulative
environment, where the logic of marketing, capital and profit dominate the policy of
corporate ownership, disregarding and despising a crucial and fundamental role in
stimulating an active public sphere „owned‟ by the people and not by the media, as well
as a citizenship awareness.
The New Information Age, the development and application of new
technologies has influenced, affected and accelerated the process of globalisation.
People are coming together and, as Castells refers, this new age is very much
characterized as a “timeless time”, where long-distance is no longer an obstacle and
constraint for intercommunication and exchange between people. But, the danger in this
Information Age is what it seems to be the inevitable formation and creation of new
social divisions, discriminations or, in Castells‟ words, the emergence of a Fourth World
In this New Time, the new communication technologies are only available and
can only be accessed by the rich, while the poor and the discriminated are forgotten and
left apart. This situation is currently happening in the Portuguese society and, obviously,
does not help the instigation, promotion, spreading and application of citizenship
principles and awareness. Thus, such threat must be firmly watched, pursued and,
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 75
eventually, stopped from spreading. Quoting Castells, “the Information Age does not
have to be the age of stepped-up inequality, polarization and social exclusion. But, for
the moment it is!!” (Castells, 1996: 10).
Facing this scenario, I convincingly think that the stimulus and subsequent
concretisation of future worldwide initiatives like the most recent Cancun Summit
realised in the ambit of the WTO (World Trade Organization), between September 10 th
and 14th, will definitively help, or at least, keep alive the instigation and instauration of a
better, much fair and humanitarian world, where the differences between the rich and the
poor won‟t be so extreme as they are today.
The Cancun Summit, which came up in sequence of a whole of „negotiation
rounds‟ – the Seattle and Doha meetings were the most recent ones – reflects the need
for the disciplinalisation and ordering of today‟s globalized world, where the impasse
between poor and emergent countries (also called countries in a developing stage) – the
G2114 – and rich countries – the G815 – seems to be at its highest peak.
Despite all the efforts, though, the Summit turned out to be a failure. In
Kenneth Rogoff‟s view (the economist chief of the IMF, International Monetary Fund),
the multilateral commercial negotiations were a “tragedy”. To quote his words: “the
recent failure of the commercial negotiations in Cancun is a tragedy. If there isn‟t any
increase in the exchanges, the global growth will slow down and poverty will rise world-
Group of emergent countries led by Brazil, China and India.
Group of the eight most rich countries – United States of America, Russia, Italy, Canada, France,
Germany, United Kingdom and Japan.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 76
wide” (quoted in Boletim de Informacao Diplomatico – Ministério dos Negocios
Estrangeiros/Gabinete de Informacao e Imprensa, 2003: 7)
Although initiatives as the Cancun Summit won‟t always succeed in its
purposes, the initiative itself is already a success and shows that there has been an
increasingly awareness of the dangers of a world that is highly economically globalized.
They reflect all the forces and pressures of different societies in reacting to the various
vectors – economic, social and cultural – that command the globalisation phenomenon.
Parallelly to the WTO meetings, there has also been taking place other
initiatives with huge impact worldwide – the 2001, 2002 and 2003 Porto Alegre Forums,
where a panoply of highly reputed participants (the last 2003 Porto Alegre Forum had
60.000 participants), like NGOs, Private Institutions, Former Presidents and Ministers,
Economic Agents and „Thinkers‟ (one of the Gurus has been the so mention along this
work Portuguese „thinker‟ and researcher Boaventura de Sousa Santos) coming from a
variety of countries all over the world meet and put under debate all the social and
negatives consequences produced by the so called economic globalisation.
The main objective of these Forums is, thus, to exalt the need for the emergence
of a globalisation movement contoured by humanitarian principles, where the poor
(countries) may have equal rights and opportunities as the rich (countries).
The continuity of these meetings is, then, crucial for the tireless discussions and
future instauration of wiser and much fair rules, which will provide a much stable and
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 77
disciplined global order and subsequent instigation and development of what I would
call „a globalized world with human face‟.
Portugal: a Peculiar Case
In the core of all the current turbulences, lies a small country, which, in distant
times, proclaimed an important and decisive role in the shaping of global tendencies and
systemic transformations – Portugal.
Today, Portugal is classified by many as a peculiar society, which generates
many perplexities – society with an intermediary degree of development, whose geo-
economical processes, in which it has been inserting itself, have a special nature
(colonizer country, underdeveloped country, and country part of the European
Integration…), and with a unique relation with the State (highly corporative society and
highly dependent on the State).
On the other hand, as José Reis argues, “the structural heterogeneity of the
Portuguese society is not permanent and, certainly, tends to be much different in the
moment when the exchanges of capital, work and knowledge accelerate and transform
themselves” (quoted in Santos, 2001: 131).
Portugal also represents an unique specificness. Despite being a small country,
it is not isolated. On the contrary, it is well integrated in the progressive construction of
the European Union and, thus, an active part (although limited to its reduced influence in
the elaboration and shaping of global policies and tendencies) of today‟s globalized
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 78
world, and has special, strong and exclusive ties with a significant number of relevant
countries – the CPLP16.
Therefore, Portugal is inevitably vulnerable to external influences and, in that
way, suffers all the consequences – both negatives and positives – generated by the
globalisation processes. Phenomena such as Marketization, Migration Movements and
Social Illness/Risk all reach Portugal. As it as been tried to demonstrate along this work,
there is a clear connection between these three phenomena. On one hand, marketization
and the increasingly monopolization of communication companies generate new gaps
and social instabilities. Instead of bringing people together, the convergence of
communications seems to divide even deeper societies that have access to all of the
technological developments from those societies with rising inequalities of condition.
This situation challenges a fundamental „body‟ of a truly liberized democracy – the
public sphere „owned‟ by the people and not by the media. Such conjuncture is
increasingly diminishing the sensation in people of having the exact notion of belonging
to a community and, thus, the notion and sense of citizenship. On the other hand, the
deprivation of citizenship, allied with other social instabilities generated by the present
tendency – employment, earnings, property, housing, minimum consumption, education,
the welfare state, respect, etc, make people to look for better opportunities and life
conditions, and, thus, in many cases, migrate. This migratory necessity, causes, at the
same time, complex social transformations in societies all around the world, creating, in
that way, what has been called as social illnesses/risks – from which Portugal cannot
CPLP stands for “Community of Countries with the Portuguese Language”– PALOP countries (Angola,
Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde), Brazil, East Timor and Portugal.
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 79
In societies as the Portuguese, I clearly notice, both from empirical and
personal observations, what I qualify as perverse phenomena and which are increasingly
becoming a major feature of today‟s globalized world. In my perception, then, I see a
peculiar characteristic in today‟s society, that is the power of media corporations and the
power of capital seem to anaesthetize people. Inertia takes its place and dominates
people, causing the effect of commodifying people‟s lives in the sense that, instead of
having the perfect notion of belonging to a community and, thus, the notion of
citizenship, people increasingly think about their own commodity, their own private
lives, their consumption and mass-mediated pleasures. Dramatically, then, people,
without noticing it, allow corporations and the logic of capital power to control and
influence their lives. To me, this is an alarming phenomenon, which must be strictly
pursued, tackled and, surely, blocked from spreading its inherent tragic consequences in
all societies. There is an emergency, then, for a global moral responsibility and
awareness for these ambiguities and dangers. As James Halloran argues:
“As the information society develops it will not be possible to achieve the
goals of citizenship in the absence of information and communication
systems which provide the information base and the opportunities for
access and participation for all citizens. Accountability and
responsibility demand that those who espouse development and
globalisation take this into account. We must also realize that, if we wish
to alleviate the conditions of the many „have nots‟ – particularly in the
Third World – then some form of self-sacrifice on the part of the ‘haves’
is essential. The acceptance of this form of moral responsibility, with all
it implies, should figure prominently in any discussion on globalisation
and nationalism, and must be taken into account in any meaningful
research programme” (James Halloran, 1997: 47).
Globalisation and its impacts in the Portuguese society 80
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