Through the lens of expressive culture, Performing Folklore tracks Portugal's transition from fascism to democracy, and from imperial metropole to EEC member state. Kimberly DaCosta Holton examines the evolution and significance of ranchos folcloricos, groups of amateur musicians and dancers who perform turn-of-the-century popular tradition and have acted as cultural barometers of change throughout 20th-century Portugal. She investigates the role that these folklore groups played in the mid-twentieth-century dictatorship, how they fell out of official favor with the advent of democracy, and why they remain so popular in Portugal's post-authoritarian state, especially in emigrant and diasporic communities. Holton looks at music, dance, costume, repertoire, venue, and social interplay in both local and global contexts. She considers the importance of revivalist folklore in the construction and preservation of national identity in the face of globalization. This book embraces invented tradition as process rather than event, presenting an ethgraphy t only of folkloric revivalism but also of sweeping cultural transformation, promoted alternately by authoritarianism, democracy, emigration, and European unification.
Kimberly DaCosta Holton is Assistant Professor of Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies at Rutgers University, Newark.