Maria Antónia Almeida, Ph.D.

University Institute of Lisbon

Address: Av. das Forças Armadas

City: Lisboa - 1649-026

Country: Portugal

About Me:

Political science researcher at CIES – Centre for Sociology Research Studies, ISCTE – Higher Institute of Social Sciences and Business Studies, Lisbon. Post-graduate in European Studies, Master and PhD in Modern and Contemporary History and two Post-Doctoral research projects on Political Science, focusing on Local Government. Former researcher at CIUHCT, Centro Interuniversitário de História da Ciência e Tecnologia, Department of Applied Social Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Specialized in political transitions, local government, political and economic elites, memories and identities, rural and urban history, biographies. Principal investigator in a research project on History of Popularization of Science and Technology, Medicine and Public Health. Author of eleven books, articles in scientific journals with peer review, such as Public Understanding of Science, Rural History, História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos, Notes & Records of The Royal Society, Portuguese Journal of Social Science, European Societies, AGER, Continuity and Change, and over five thousand articles, book chapters and dictionary entries available online. Has built eight databases and regularly presents papers in conferences and seminars.

Research Interests

Elections, Election Administration, and Voting Behavior

European Politics

Political Participation

Political Parties and Interest Groups

State and Local Politics

Urban Politics

Representation and Electoral Systems

Countries of Interest



Journal Articles:

(2018) Women Mayors in Portugal: a case study in political representation and citizenship, Revista de Sociologia e Política

The Portuguese 25th April 1974 revolution introduced a process of democratization. It was also the beginning of women’s general participation in elections, both as voters and elected representatives, as well as their recognition as equal to men in all aspects of social, economic and political life. After a historical analysis of women’s political participation in Portugal, we follow women in local government as members of the earlier administrative committees which ruled municipalities from 1974 until the first local elections which took place on 12th December 1976, as elected representatives from 1976 to the latest 2013 elections, and their present role as participative citizens. Although four decades have gone by, women’s representation in Portuguese politics is still low. A sociological study of this group reveals higher educational levels and specialized jobs, particularly in teaching and management, as well as party membership.

(2017) Territorial inequalities: depopulation and local development policies in the Portuguese rural world, AGER

The Portuguese rural world no longer resembles the one described in the literature, mostly because people no longer live or work there. Farmers became brand managers and tour hosts, workers were replaced by machines and intensive farming shoved entire populations to urban areas. With depopulation, the agrarian landscape has been transformed into a place for leisure or nature preservation. How are the remains of the rural being addressed by the few who still believe in life outside the big cities? What is the role of local government and its leaders in the sustainable development of the territory and its dynamic? All over the country, and particularly in rural areas, there is an urgent need to attract people and investment to fight depopulation and unemployment. What are the differences between projects for urban and rural municipalities? Political and economic strategies of municipalities and private entrepreneurs are analyzed and compared.

(2017) The revolution in local government: mayors in Portugal before and after 1974, Continuity and Change

In 1974, Portugal’s Carnation Revolution, initiated by the military, received huge popular support. Army officers, mostly of the rank of captain, started the Revolution, but then the politicians took over. While it was largely a ‘top down’ revolution, at the local government level ordinary people assumed control. In this article we consider those who made up the local elites before the Revolution, during the transition period that followed, and thereafter. We compare the local elites in Portugal during Salazar’s dictatorship with those under the Democratic regime, using a database of 6,000 entries containing details of 3,102 mayors and deputy mayors and 402 civil governors who held office between 1936 and 2013. Our main conclusions are that during the transition period the elite who had ruled under Salazar were almost completely replaced. A new group, from different professions and social backgrounds, took up the reins of local government. The Revolution produced a population willing to participate in the new order and take on roles within local government, but they did not always retain their seats after the first democratic elections.

(2009) Women in Portuguese politics, PJSS

The presence of women in politics has increased worldwide during the twentieth century and is well documented (Inglehart and Norris, 2003). In Portugal, women have been elected and appointed to public offices throughout this period, but in quite a limited way. Estado Novo, the authoritarian regime Salazar established in 1933, which lasted until 1974, was the first to allow them to express themselves by vote, but in a very selective mode, for only formally educated women or family heads were allowed to exercise that right. Considering literacy was low, those women were a very diminutive percentage of society. The same criteria applied to elected or politically appointed offices, where Portuguese women’s participation was mostly barred. After the 1974 carnation revolution, has the Portuguese transition to democracy improved women’s participation in politics? Has the democratization process influenced women’s access to elected offices? Keeping in mind an historical perspective, this paper offers an explanation of the Portuguese political system and an evaluation of the Portuguese political class, in order to introduce the gender issue. Even though the democratic regime, established with the 1976 Constitution, is now over thirty years old, in fact there is still a “female sub-representation” in Portuguese politics, inscribed into the larger issue of women’s access to all aspects of social, cultural and economic life (Viegas and Faria, 1999). And the social and cultural characteristics of the group of women who participate and are elected and appointed to public offices remains the same as in the former regime: only a very limited elite of very educated women have access to government, both local and national. It can be inferred that the democratic regime has introduced quite a considerable amount of measures to promote gender equality, but other factors have also influenced the arrival of women into political offices, such as social and economic development, and the enormous enlargement of university graduates, a female dominated group.