Portugal : Culture

As a result of change wrought by the Revolution of 1974, Portugal in the 1990s would be almost unrecognizable to persons who knew the nation twenty or thirty years ago. The Revolution of 1974 set loose social and political forces that the nation had not seen before on such a large scale and which could not be entirely controlled. The revolution, in turn, occurred and had such a profound impact because of other, gradual social pressures that had been building for decades and even centuries. In the mid-1970s, these changes exploded to the surface. In the aftermath of the revolution, as Portuguese society continued to modernize and the nation was admitted as a full member of the European Community, social change continued, but not so frenetically and dramatically as during the revolutionary mid-1970s.

Following the revolution, which led to the establishment of democracy in Portugal, societal pressures continued. Pressures for education, land, jobs, better health care, housing, social equality, and solutions to Portugal's pressing social problems mounted. Portugal remained, even with the economic growth of the 1980s and early 1990s, a poor nation compared to the West European standards. Moreover, rising expectations were threatening to overwhelm the democratic regime's capacities for resolving the problems. Portugal's full economic participation in the EC at the end of 1992, when it would no longer have the protection of high tariff barriers, added to social tensions and uncertainties. Thus, as Portugal began the 1990s, the promise of a new, stable, democratic era of development coexisted with a fear of what the future might bring.

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