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exploratory projects

Things from Portugal

identity negotiations and uses of Portuguese material culture in a context of transnational migrations

Casaco de manta de lã tradicional (“manta de Papa”).
Casaco de manta de lã tradicional (“manta de Papa”).


From a transversal perspective that crosses the knowledge of anthropology, design studies and art studies, the aim is to study the exhibition, sale, purchase and appropriation of examples of Portuguese material culture in Paris.

The role that things play in the construction of identities is associated here with the dynamics of ethnicization and patrimonialization which take place in a complex context of transnational European mobility.

These dynamics occur within a sociological framework where the different players belong, often recently, to a middle class with lifestyles that have global references.

The project aims to interrogate the complex dynamics of the relationships between people and things, where the following coexist: 1) the construction of ethnicized and patrimonialized meanings when objects and art objects are made; 2) the affirmation and resignification of these first meanings while the objects live out their commodity status within a framework of ethnic entrepreneurship; 3) the appropriation of these objects and their meanings and 4) the subsequent resignifications that take place during the objects’ social lives with their owners.

This project contributes to Thematic Line TL5

Research Team

Principal Investigator




Sónia Ferreira


Luísa Soares 

de Oliveira


Inês Secca



Project development

MAIN UPPER IMAGE Traditional wool blanket coat (“Pope blanket”). © Filomena Silvano