Accepted paper:

Politics of Recuperation. Repair and Recovery in Post-crisis Portugal


Francisco Martinez (University of Leicester)

Paper short abstract:

The paper takes recuperation both analytically and conceptually, looking into contextual notions of recovery in Lisbon, as well as taking this term as a theoretical operator applied on ethnographic data (with a series of interviews and descriptions).

Paper long abstract:

This paper offers insights into what could be termed politics of recuperation — focused on how the Portuguese society rebuilds the scaffolding that helps to navigate through life by remaking connections and relations. Specifically, it accounts of different repair activities in Lisbon with attention to how people organise themselves in a context of uncertainty relying on both traditional practices and new idioms and modalities of social participation. The research foregrounds, therefore, the organicity of societies, their continual porosity and resilience, as well as their capacity for self-repair. Recuperation has a double meaning, an active transitive sense, synonymous to reviving something. And an intransitive sense, which refers to regaining a former condition. Ethnographically, the research presents multiple registers of recuperation that go from transformative actions to the material and the organisational. In this light, it helps to think about the socio-cultural resources that people rely upon on the margins of what has been traditionally assumed as politics, economy and welfare. The paper contributes to an anthropological understanding of recuperation by paying attention to everyday practices of recovery and value allocation, and how they may produce an unpredictable patchwork of services, provisions, repair practices, networks or even infrastructures. As demonstrated by the anthropological research, the recuperation of relations creates something transcendental (such as a life narrative), adds a human dimension to the public sphere, and expands our conception of what constitutes the political.

panel P126
Styles of domestic life: austerity and self-worth