Congratulations to Raphael Costa for the successful defense of his dissertation!

TitleMaking the ‘New Lourinhã, a European Lourinhã’: Democracy, Civic
Engagement, and the Urban Development of Lourinhã, Portugal
since 1966.

Abstract: Since 1966, Lourinhã’s urban landscape has transformed as Portugal
democratized. From a rural town with little infrastructure and few institutions in
1966, Lourinhã had emerged by 2001 as an ostensibly modern European town.
This work highlights key areas of economic and urban development, and argues
that Lourinhã’s political culture became more institutionalized leaving less room
for, and withering expectation of, citizen participation in local development as
Portugal transitioned from dictatorship to democracy.
This dissertation examines Portugal’s transition from the Estado Novo
dictatorship (1933-1974) to European social democracy by focusing on
Lourinhã’s – a town of 22,000 people north of Lisbon – urbanization between
1966 and 2001. Lourinhã’s urbanization involved, and indeed required, a shift in
its institutional and political culture. In the 1960s and 1970s, people were
expected to participate in development at a cultural, political and financial level,
acting as substitutes for non-existent state mechanisms of development.
However, by the late 1980s, the momentum had shifted as regional, national, and
European institutions participated in developmental programs, marking a
dramatic change in how citizens engaged with the state and the Portuguese
From this shift has emerged a debate about the nature of Portugal’s
transition to democracy. With the Carnation Revolution of 1974 – the military
coup that toppled the Estado Novo – at the center of analysis, academics and
pundits ask whether that event represented “evolution or revolution” for Portugal.
Was Portugal on the path towards democracy before 1974? And, given
contemporary problems, was the rapid shift to European social democracy the
blessing it appeared to be by the 1990s? Did democratization disenfranchise the
Portuguese in important ways? Are commentators like Jorge Silva Melo, a Lisbon
playwright who began his career in the Estado Novo years correct in asserting
that, “under the dictatorship there was hope … that was in ‘72/’73. Nowadays, its
exactly the opposite: there is no hope”? This dissertation uses Lourinhã’s
development as an example of a Portuguese experience to argue that the
Carnation Revolution, although a watershed in Portugal’s politico-cultural
evolution, should not be understood as the moment when democracy came to

Supervisory Committee:
Adrian Shubert (Supervisor)
Suzanne Langlois
António Costa Pinto

Defense Committee:
Antonia Cazorla (Trent U)
Maria João Dodman
Sean Kheraj

Raphael, way to go and thank you (also for being a co-president of the GHSA in 2010-11).

From your friends and peers!


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