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The Lusophone World

The Evolution of Portuguese National Narratives

In the series
The Sussex Library of the Portuguese-Speaking World: Its History, Politics and Culture

Sarah Ashby obtained a Bachelor's Degree from Middlebury College in 2010 and a Ph.D. from Brown University's Department of Portuguese and Brazilian Studies in 2015. Her research interests focus on the history of post-colonial political, economic, and social relations in the Lusophone world. She is currently a Foreign Service Officer in São Paulo, Brazil.

Portugal’s European Union honeymoon has officially ended. It was the victim of a Europe-wide political and financial crisis and an unstable EU identity increasingly splintered along regional and economic fractures. What does this mean for the former “good student” of European democracy? The answer may lie in renewed Portuguese efforts to deepen and strengthen ties with Lusophone countries across the globe, which since 1996 have been organized into a supranational organization called the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP). While Portugal’s marginality in relation to Europe might be emphasized in the corridors of Brussels, within the realm of the CPLP the former world power can once again see itself as existing at the center – geographically as well as from a historic-cultural perspective – of an extensive international milieu.

The Lusophone World: The Evolution of Portuguese National Narratives explores the dialectic between Portugal's sense of identity and belonging in the EU and the CPLP. It provides an analysis of the manner in which Portugal’s institutional allegiances to both of these organizations have impacted the political, economic, and social fabric of the nation. The fact that Portugal is turning to its former colonies as alternate partners in trade, commerce, emigration, and development initiatives may not be evidence of straightforward estrangement from the European continent. More likely, Portugal appears to be riding a fresh wave of what it means to be modern in the European milieu. This new concept of “modernity,” related to rhetoric of hybridity and a self-professed position as interlocutor, could be evidence of a deeper understanding of the new tools needed to survive and prosper in a rapidly-changing European Union.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-859-6
Hardback Price: £50.00 / $69.95
Release Date: April 2017
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-874-9
Paperback Price: £25.00 / $34.95
Release Date: April 2017
Page Extent / Format: 184 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


Preface by Series Editor
Author’s Preface and Acknowledgements

Introduction: After the Honeymoon

1 Life on the European Periphery

2 The Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries

3 Portugal, Europe, and the Lusophone World:
Points of Intersection

4 Portugal, Europe, and the Lusophone World:
Points of Diversion

5 Portuguese Discourses of Modernity

Conclusion: New Lusophone Horizons


This study analyzes Portugal’s membership in the EU and the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), looking at how the country’s involvement in both have affected its politics, economics, and society. The study explores the colonial and post-colonial roots of present-day political and social relations in Portuguese and its place in Europe.

Reviewed in English by Revista de Estudos Literários of the University of Coimbra, at

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