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Project: Foreign Policy and Political Regimes: Portugal 1890-2010

Funding Source: FCT (PTDC/HIS-HIS/119671/2010)

Participant Institutions: IPRI-NOVA and IHC/FCSH/NOVA

Timeframe: March 2012 - August 2015

Abstract: Academic literature on Portuguese foreign policy has focused exclusively on the analysis of outcomes and their political impact. This Project moves the research focus from the outcomes of Portuguese foreign policy to its formulation. The Project covers the period between 1890 and 2010 and identifies patterns of continuity and change in the history of Portuguese foreign policy across different political regimes. In this sense, the analysis will be divided into three interrelated levels: agents, institutional structures and decision-making process. Who is the Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs? In order to answer this question we develop a prosopographic analysis which seeks to identify the profile of the policymakers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministers and Secretaries of State). And who are the ambassadors of Portugal? Again, we will seek to draw the profile of the Portuguese heads of diplomatic missions (ambassadors) through a prosopographic analysis.
After characterizing the political and diplomatic elite, an account of the major players with key roles in the formulation of Portuguese foreign policy will be provided. Which institutional tools are available for the implementation of Portuguese foreign policy? Where are the Portuguese embassies and consulates? To answer these questions we analyze the evolution of the organic structure of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and we look at the geographical distribution of the diplomatic and consular networks.
How did Portugal decide to enter the Great War? How did Portugal decide to join NATO? What about the European Community? In sum, how are decisions taken in Portuguese foreign policy? Based on sectorial areas of strategic interest for Portugal and in a case-study selection, these questions will be addressed through an analysis of the decision-making process in the period outlined. The model of foreign policy analysis will be taken as the central theoretical framework, on the basis of which the empirical data will be interpreted. Historical and empirical data will draw mostly from archival sources, with recourse to the primary literature in the field. This project brings together a multi-disciplinary team from the fields of history, political science, sociology and international relations, who will seek to contribute to a more integrated analysis of the research results.

Members of the Team:

Ana Mónica Fonseca
Ana Sara Vieira
António Costa Pinto
Daniel Marcos
Edalina Sanches
Isabel Alcario
Joana Mendes
Nuno Severiano Teixeira (Coordinator)
Patrícia Daehnhardt
Pedro Tavares de Almeida

Main outputs:

Conferences and Seminars

  1. Summer Seminar 2013: “Policy Makers and Diplomats: Who Are the Portuguese Elites Who Make our Foreign Policy?”, Óbidos, September 16th to 18th.
  2. Summer Seminar 2014: “The Tools of Portuguese Foreign Policy: Structure, Representation, and Future Challenges” Óbidos, September 25th to 27th.
  3. International Conference 2015: “Foreign-Policy Making in Southern Europe”, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, May, 21st.st.

    For more information, please access the project website.


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