By Ângela Campos
This publication explores the lived reminiscence of the Portuguese colonial warfare (1961-1974) during the research of thirty-six oral heritage interviews with ex-combatants of this clash. The meanings that the warring parties attributed to their struggle stories then and now are the book’s analytical concentration. This undertaking seeks to reply to the next questions: how has the general public reminiscence of this colonial clash built in Portugal from 1974 to nearly 2010? what matters does an oral historian stumble upon whilst undertaking interviews with veterans on a earlier that continues to be demanding for lots of? what have been – and are – the main major features of the struggle event and its aftermath for the veterans? how do the veterans understand their team identification and their old state of affairs? and what cutting edge views does oral background provide to the historiography of the Portuguese colonial war?
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Additional info for An Oral History of the Portuguese Colonial War: Conscripted Generation
Stress that the existing dichotomies in both approaches are unhelpful and obscure the fact that the processes in motion in both domains are actually interrelated and constitutive of each other. In their extreme positions, both models are flawed. One considers all personal memories and narratives as the irrevocable result of belonging to a particular society, while the other treats memories and narratives as uniquely individual and unaffected by other wider narratives. Highlighting both approaches’ underconceptualization of the complexities of war memory construction and articulation, the authors argue that memory-making results from the mutually influenced cultural representations originating from individuals, civil society, and the state.
There is contestation within society, and different agencies seek recognition for the experiences of those social groups which inform them. When there are pressures from civil society, the nation-state also has to respond to the challenges and counter-narratives of those who feel excluded from the official, dominant memory. Despite the virtual unattainability of a unified public memory of war, a more democratic state will allow a pluralistic, inclusive debate. Analyzing different dimensions of the politics of war memory allows us to understand the complexity of the interrelationships between competing narratives, arenas, and agencies, and between personal and public, collective memories.
CAMPOS However, these two views are not clearly demarcated and tend to cohabit, revealing a divided society within which there is no real national unity around the cultural memory of the war, and where it is uncomfortable to deal with Portugal’s dictatorial past and the collapse of its empire. 20 Whatever the viewpoint, it is evident that the colonial war remains a source of tension and disagreement in Portugal today. The contradictions and divisions that surround the war include the actual name given to the conflict.
An Oral History of the Portuguese Colonial War: Conscripted Generation by Ângela Campos