“Crisis, Anxiety, and the Colonial Origins of the Welfare State in Portugal, 1928-1944”


Location: C-103 Hesburgh Center

Dr. Pedro Ramos Pinto (University of Manchester) will give a lecture at the Kellogg Institute on Tuesday, May 3, at 12:30.

Professor Robert Fishman (Department of Sociology) will introduce Dr. Pinto and moderate the discussion after the lecture.

The lecture is sponsored by the Fundação Luso-Americana para o Desenvolvimento (FLAD), the Kellogg Institute, the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Program in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies.


Scholarship is increasingly attuned to the importance of the genealogy of institutions in explaining the performance and characteristics of different welfare systems. However, we know relatively little about the histories of welfare-state development outside the club of advanced industrial nations, while the role of authoritarian regimes in the creation of social insurance and security across the world is understudied. This paper explores these issues by investigating the politics and ideas behind the introduction of the first extensive social policies in Portugal during the early years of Salazar’s “New State.” It argues that transnational factors and, in this case, the importance of “thinking like an empire,” are central to understanding not just the motivation for intervention, but also the way in which the system was constructed. It concludes by reflecting on how the origins of the system influenced its subsequent development and are linked to contemporary patterns of inequality and the characteristics of the Portuguese welfare state.

Dr. Pedro Ramos Pinto (PhD, Cambridge University) studies the historical interaction between popular movements and state policies. His research focuses particularly on Lusophone and Hispanic countries, histories of welfare and social policy, social movements, inequality, and transitions to democracy.