Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/96773
Title: Between Violence, Racism and Reform: São Tomé e Príncipe in the Great Depression Years, 1930–7
Authors: Valverde Contreras, Beatriz 
Keese, Alexander
Keywords: Forced labour; Great Depressions; Migrant workers; Plantations; Portuguese colonialism; São Tomé e Príncipe
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Sage
Project: POCI-01-0145-FEDER-031906 
Serial title, monograph or event: Journal of Contemporary History
Volume: 56
Issue: 2
Abstract: The effects of the Great Depression on the important cocoa plantation sector of the archipelago of São Tomé e Príncipe – a Portuguese colonial laboratory for social change in plantation agriculture shifting between coercive practices and attempts at accommodation – were drastic: initially backed by a right-wing authoritarian government, plantation managements lowered workers’ wages and made already repressive conditions of worker exploitation worse. This article highlights the processes of degradation in plantation workers' life. However, in ways that might seem paradox at first glance, the crisis years of the 1930s also opened the ways to changes in social experiences in the plantations. Labour inspectors were increasingly called upon to scrutinize existing abuses on the plantations, and although this might have been in the first phase simply lip service to certain international debates on good standards in colonialism, inspectors internalized the need for reform and turned out to be critical observers. At the same time, the workers expanded their repertoire of responses – from individual resistance to ever better-organized escape strategies and the manipulation of offers of settlement schemes for small groups of workers. By 1937, these trends were important precursors to changes that would achieve their full impact in the 1950s.
Description: Accepted version
First Published December 13, 2020
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10316/96773
ISSN: 0022-0094
1461-7250
DOI: 10.1177/0022009420961456
Rights: openAccess
Appears in Collections:I&D CES - Artigos em Revistas Internacionais

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