his book started off being about Portugal, attending to the
of a colonial history whose residue surfaced in
two scenarios I observed. But it ends on a note that lacks this
historical distinction: the final ethnographic scenario could have
occurred anywhere in the eu. In many ways this is precisely the
point of this book. My goal has been to historicize a moment in
time—from roughly 1994 through 2003—when racism in Portugal
transitions from something effaceable to something incriminating.
I have concerned myself with how this move aligned Portugal—in
the local imagination—with other western European countries.
It is no coincidence that this time frame coincides with Portu-
gal’s economic integration into the eu financial structure in 1996.
The neoliberal underpinnings of this market shift are what make
Portugal look increasingly indistinguishable from other locations.
Key here is a popular liberalism in a citizen-migrant distinction
that characterizes many legitimate, contractual work relations.
That this shift occurs, in part, through revised relationships with
others, especially in southern and eastern Europe, tells us some-
thing about the engineering capacity of quotidian sociality.
The ethnography that does not mutually attend to the interac-
tive practices of those categorized as migrants and those cate-
gorized as citizens not only eliminate from analysis the relational
conditions that enable the categories in the first place, but also
generate a one-sided picture of how norms are institutionalized
through repetitive social practice (see Butler 1993). In the case of
Portugal, an investigation into the historical terms under which it
altered its orientation, from Africa to Europe, is essential to quali-
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