Debates on culture in Portugal: the complex case of book and reading


  • Daniel Melo CHAM, FCSH, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal



cultural democratization, cultural policy, book, reading, publishing


This text problematises the question of books and reading in the light of the key debates that took place in 20th-century Portugal. It characterises the main individual and collective actors involved not only in the debates themselves, but also in the cultural action in those areas, as well as their most important legacies, based on a theoretical framework that advocates the notion of a broad cultural policy involving both the state and organised civil society. The author analyses a number of representative discourses and initiatives, which were in line with the debates in other countries. Despite the limitations imposed on the participants (especially by the long-lived dictatorship), they made decisive contributions to some major changes: a perspective that emphasised indoctrination and technical qualification for work was gradually replaced by an open, plural perspective seeking the formation of the complete citizen and promoting cultural democratisation, the coexistence of different views and bibliodiversity.