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Sociability and collective action in a Lisbon workingclass neighbourhood: The social representations of Alcântara in the early twentieth century

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In the second half of the nineteenth century, the peripheral area of Alcântara became one of Lisbon’s most important industrial centres. Its economic development was accompanied by a massive growth in population. As this area became urbanized and industrialized, the representations of the neighbourhood also changed. Within a few decades, Alcântara ceased to be associated with the image of a remote suburb, a place that had no clearly defined boundaries or a space defined solely in terms of its industrial function. This article presents the Alcântara neighbourhood as a case study that helps us understand how collective practices shape new representations of city and urban life. The objective of this article is to analyse the role of a republican voluntary association – the Society for the Promotion of Popular Education (Promotora – Sociedade Promotora de Educação Popular) – in transforming the representations associated with the Alcântara neighbourhood in the early twentieth century. During this period, Promotora helped shape different levels of ‘collective representations’ of Alcântara; it also contributed to the formation of an authentic urban lifestyle at the neighbourhood level, drawing attention to people who represented the local community and speaking on their behalf.
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Keywords: Lisbon; industrialization; neighbourhood; republicanism; sociability; urbanization

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: CRIA-IUL, Instituto Universitario de Lisboa, ISCTE-IUL

Publication date: 01 June 2015

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