Things from Portugal: identity negotiations and uses of Portuguese material culture in the context of transnational migration

public.project.responsible_investigator_cria: Filomena Silvano

public.project.research_group: Practices and Politics of Culture


Material culture | Identities | Patrimonialization | Migrations


Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia










From a transversal perspective that crosses the knowledge of anthropology, design studies and art studies, the aim is to study the exhibition, sale, purchase and appropriation of examples of Portuguese material culture in Paris.

The role that things play in the construction of identities is associated here with the dynamics of ethnicisation and patrimonialisation that take place in a complex context of transnational European mobility. These dynamics take place within a sociological framework of the often recent belonging of the different players to a middle class with lifestyles that have global references.

The project aims to interrogate the complex dynamics of the relationships between people and things, where the following coexist: 1) the construction of ethnicised and patrimonialised meanings when objects and art objects are made; 2) the affirmation and resignification of these first meanings while the objects live out their commodity status within a framework of ethnic entrepreneurship; 3) the appropriation of these objects and their meanings and 4) the subsequent resignifications that take place during the objects' social lives with their owners.

We propose to support the hypothesis that: 1) in contexts of transnational mobility, material culture, which is also mobile, is an integral part of identity negotiations; 2) the processes of patrimonialisation and ethnicisation of material culture take place in the various stages of the social life of things.

Maria Inês Ruivo (CHAIA)

Maria Luísa Soares de Oliveira (IHA)

Associated researchers

Sara Martins

Full members

Sónia Ferreira