Power and corruption in the early modern Portuguese world

2015 ChoiceReviews  
Understanding and explaining the formation of the Portuguese colonial possessions, their functioning, their dynamics and the forces that would turn them into a cohesive whole in modern times, has been a major challenge for generations of historians of different nationalities. Among these numerous studies, those which focus their attention on what we might call a renewed political and institutional history have recently gained greater consistency and consolidation. One might describe history as
more » ... aving been "renewed" in the political field, because these historians are no longer obsessed with state power. Political power, its practice and its scope, is not confined to state boundaries. In fact, if we follow the path opened up by Michel Foucault, political power is coextensive with social power. Seen from this perspective, the concept of the state has been subjected to rigorous questioning. Indeed, after the studies undertaken by António Manuel Hespanha, the specificity of the state in the modern period, or rather under the Old Regime (Ancien Régime), is now very clear, contrasting starkly with the state resulting from the transformations that took place in the Age of Revolutions (Eric Hobsbawm) and from those that were introduced, in particular, by liberalism. Furthermore, history has also been renewed in the institutional field, because it is no longer a question of formally investigating an institution based on its legal statutes and other regulations, leaving the social actors in the background. The central problem of the history of institutions has become a matter of recovering the network of individuals and the social and power relations that constitute an institution or a group of institutions, permeating them and causing them to interact (Jean Pierre Dedieu). By linking these cornerstones and the approach that emerges from them with the impact of the foundational and fertile studies by Charles Boxer, Vitorino Magalhães Godinho, AJR Russell-Wood, Dauril Alden and Stuart Schwartz on different facets of the
doi:10.5860/choice.193600 fatcat:n5e2mffirrhzphweulczgfvuc4