The main guidelines of employment and protection policies in Portugal are discussed, as well as their articulation over the last five decades. The focus is placed on two recent critical moments: the 2008 financial crisis and the pandemic crisis. To help understand the meanings of the changes, a plural methodological strategy was chosen, capable of diagnosing a multiplicity of information from different sources. The results point in a double direction. From a long time perspective, although the evolutionary framework is marked more by continuities than by major disruptions, the period is crossed by moments of tension and alternation between policies, and punctuated by two movements with distinct directions: one movement towards social progress and the other towards social regression. These movements, oscillating but not necessarily chronological, may coexist in the same cycles and legislatures. From a short-term perspective, the response to the
two crises was different and so were the results. The country responded better to the pandemic crisis than to the financial crisis. Policies matter. However, the post-pandemic crisis period is uncertain, as is the recovery process.

Keywords: crises, social and employment policies, social (un)protection, activation, socio-economic vulnerabilities.

Authors: Jorge Caleiras, Renato Miguel do Carmo

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