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Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World$
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Francisco Bethencourt and Adrian Pearce

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265246

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265246.001.0001

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Indigenato Before Race? Some Proposals on Portuguese Forced Labour Law in Mozambique and the African Empire (1926–62)

Indigenato Before Race? Some Proposals on Portuguese Forced Labour Law in Mozambique and the African Empire (1926–62)

Chapter:
(p.148) (p.149) 8 Indigenato Before Race? Some Proposals on Portuguese Forced Labour Law in Mozambique and the African Empire (1926–62)
Source:
Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World
Author(s):

MICHEL CAHEN

Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265246.003.0009

Was blackness the key factor for labelling native people as ‘non-civilised’ and thus to be pushed into forced labour in Portuguese Africa? Without denying the importance of blackness as a stigmatising tool, this chapter argues, through a careful analysis of colonial law and practice, that the production of ‘nativeness’ was related to clear consciousness of Africans living outside the capitalist economy and social sphere. This helps us to understand that emerging forced labour represented not a smooth transition from slavery, but a rupture between two colonial ages and modes of production. Therefore, if colonial racism obviously used skin colour to construct a social bar, above all it used the definition of otherness as external to the capitalist sphere. Petty whites and natives could live side by side in suburban neighbourhoods, but in two impermeable spheres. Racism was pervasively present, but it was more social than racial.

Keywords:   creole, deferred payment, forced labour, indigenato, mode of production, nativeness, petty white, slavery, racism, social racism

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