Society in Portugal (15th-18th centuries)


After the successful completion of the course, students should: a) be able to use a set of concepts that allow the analysis of Portuguese society between the 15th and 18th centuries; b) to know and critically appreciate the main theses and historiographical contributions on the development of Portuguese society; b) be able to identify the main lines of differentiation and structuring of society, the major principles and forms of social classification and distinction, and contemporary representations of society; c) be able to identify the common characteristics and singularities of Portuguese society in the context of European societies of the time; d) to know the processes of formation and reproduction of the main social groups; e) recognize the continuities and the trends and agents of social change and its rhythms and conjunctures; f) know the main sources of Portuguese social history of the early-modern period

General characterization





Responsible teacher

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Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





História de Portugal, dir. José Mattoso, Lisboa: Círculo de Leitores, 1993, vol. III, No Alvorecer da Modernidade, coord. Joaquim Romero Magalhães e vol. IV, O Antigo Regime, coord. António Manuel Hespanha. Ramos (Rui), Sousa (Bernardo Vasconcelos) e Monteiro (Nuno G.), História de Portugal, Lisboa: Esfera dos Livros, 2009. História Económica de Portugal 1700-2000, org. Pedro Lains e Álvaro Ferreira da Silva, Vol. I - O século XVIII, Lisboa: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais, 2005 Godinho (Vitorino Magalhães), Estrutura da Antiga Sociedade Portuguesa, 3ª ed., Lisboa: Arcádia, 1977 Optima Pars – Elites Ibero-Americanas do Antigo Regime, ed. Nuno G. Monteiro, Pedro Cardim, Mafalda Soares da Cunha, Lisboa: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais, 2005

Teaching method

The classes are both theoretical and practical, consisting in the exposition by the instructor of concepts, problems and subjects and also by open or guided discussion, organized around previously indicated texts. The texts may consist of studies as well as documentary or bibliographic sources. In a significant part of the sessions, the discussion should be organized around presentations by the students themselves.

Evaluation method

The evaluation will have three components: a) Participation and animation of discussions and debates (15%). b) Presentation in the working session of a text or set of texts or organization and orientation of the discussion of one of the sessions (25%). c) Performing an individual final synthesis essay (60%).

Subject matter

Theory and Conceptualization. Territory and ecological conditions. Population and settlement. Structure of the Old Portuguese Society. The construction of the social order, its incorporation and its structural constraints. Social structure and ethnic discrimination. The great divisions of society and their borders. The subtleties of social stratification. The elites - the center and the periphery. The nobility and the court aristocracy. The aristocratic way of life. The province nobility. The local elites: noble people of local governance. The church and the clergy. The army. The royal bureaucracy: magistrates and officers. Merchants and businessmen. Rural societies and communities. The landlord and the landlords. Farmers, peasants and rural workers. The urban societies. Artisans and shopkeepers. The people of the cities. Reforms and social change. \"Arbitristas\" and \"estrangeirados\". The state and social change.