Bibliography on Party Politics in PORTUGAL, 1950-1962

Jarol Manheim

The title of this essay is a misnomer. During the time period in question, the best generalization that could be made regarding Portuguese politics would be that they reflected an absence of activity by political parties. The political scene was dominated by Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, dictator of Portugal since the 1930s. He personally created the Uniao Nacional (National Union), which chose to disclaim that it was in any sense a political party. The liberal democratic opposition was loosely organized and usually suppressed, and the illegal Communist Party operated only clandestinely. These factors combined with strict government censorship resulted in a dearth of not only academic writings but all publications on the subject.

Despite these difficulties, 71 documents dealing with party activity in Portugal during the period 1950-1962 were identified for the file. In general, the emphasis tends to be either on day-to-day news events or on the personal leadership of Oliveira Salazar. No truly analytic studies of Portuguese political parties were located.

Only English and Spanish sources were included in our microfilm information file. Portuguese language literature was excluded due to the lack of competence in the language among researchers on the ICPP Project. Despite a thorough bibliographic search, little material was found in either English or Spanish which was directly relevant to the National Union. It soon became obvious that most of our information would have to be extracted from secondary sources whose focus was only marginally on party politics. Consequently data collection became largely a process of gleaning material from other contexts. In addition to the general and social science references consulted as a matter of routine in the ICPP search strategy, the more specialized area bibliographies such as the Index to Latin American Periodicals and the bibliographic sections of the Revista de Estudios Politicos, journal of the Instituto de Estudios Politicos of Madrid also proved helpful.

Material Processed into the ICPP Information File

The literature search disclosed 71 documents which were relevant to party politics in Portugal during 1950-1962. A total of 725 pages were read and indexed from these documents. Two Spanish sources totalling 87 pages were included to augment the information available in English. These represent 12% of the total literature indexed. The first table presents a description of the major indexing categories and their frequency of use.

Taken as a unit, the four codes which dominate this table--360 (party leaders and officials), 540 (ideological orientation), 680 (government structure and political history), and 530 (issue orientation)--illustrate how much the literature is saturated with discussions of Salazar. While some of the 360 code references are to the principal leaders of the opposition, the overwhelming majority are discussions on the life and activities of the dictator. Similarly, the 530 and 540 codes tend overwhelmingly to refer to statements made by Salazar which then automatically became the positions of the Uniao Nacional. The 680 code fits into this grouping in that much of the literature which does exist on Portuguese politics is concerned with the structure of the Portuguese corporative state, a structure which is intimately bound to the dictator and his party. Much of this literature is comprised of government or party sponsored attempts to justify the system. (The two are often indistinguishable.) These four codes taken together account for some 30% of all indexing on the Portuguese party-- an accurate indication of the central concern of the literature. The fact that all 2-- (party activities) and 4-- (party organization) codes taken as a unit, account for only 16% of the indexing, and that these codes in particular were often gleaned from discussions of other topics rather than direct discussion, further reveals the poverty of the literature.

Some Observations on the State of the Literature

As may be seen from the table of index codes, what little information is available on political parties in Portugal during the time period, tends to be predominantly leadership oriented. Furthermore, what discussion does exist of other aspects of the parties, has not been placed in any sort of theoretical framework. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that 0-- codes (study of parties) account for only 1.7% of all indexing codes. Even this figure is in a sense exaggerated, for a number of these codes refer to statements by Salazar, a one-time economics professor, who enjoyed repetitive theorization on the vices of political parties.

The quality of the literature itself reflects an even more anemic state than the content. The second table shows the distribution of quality control codes. The most interesting items in this table appear under the headings of quantitative analysis and theoretical treatment. None of the documents indexed provided quantification, and only 6 of the 71 documents were at all concerned with theory or propositions, none of which were tested. Footnotes were a virtual nonentity. Of those authors whose positions were known, some 55% were journalists, while only about 21% were academics. Since the basic unit of analysis here is the document, it is worth pointing out that because seven of the eleven documents credited to academics were written by the same author (Ronald H. Chilcote), even this 21% is an overstatement of academic interest in Portuguese political parties. It is also interesting to note from the table that in only 22 of 71 cases was the objectivity of the author not questioned. That is to say, some 69% of the documents indexed were clearly value-laden. This essay, then, should serve to indicate the need for objective investigation of a wide range of subjects relating to party politics in Portugal.