Book

The Invention of the Beautiful Game

Gregg Bocketti

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print May 2016 | ISBN: 9780813062556
Published online January 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780813051574 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813062556.001.0001
The Invention of the Beautiful Game

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This book explains how Brazilian football (soccer) became Brazilian, showing that this was a matter of choices made by Brazilian nationalists rather than an outgrowth of any “authentic” Brazilian identity, thus demonstrating the crafted nature and complexity of Brazilian identity and nationalism. It argues that the history of Brazilian football is best understood as a history of Brazilian ideas, arguments, and actions to make the country a modern, developed, and unified nation, and that the popular history of Brazilian football narrates a story of progress toward democracy and inclusion which does not match the historical record. Instead, the popular history should be understood as an invention of the influential populists of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, who used football as part of their larger campaign to make Brazil a modern, developed, and unified nation. The book shows that the populists’ predecessors, middle-class and wealthy Brazilians who called themselves “sportsmen,” saw football in a similar manner, and it argues that one reason this is not better understood is that the “invented tradition” of Brazilian football has depicted them as irredeemably unBrazilian, unacceptably exclusionary, and baldly racist. The book shows why the sportsmen and their class peers should have this reputation, but it also complicates the popular view. The book thereby complicates historical understanding of Brazil between 1889 and 1945 and shows that Brazil during this era was characterized as much by constancy as by change, both within football and beyond it.

Keywords: football; soccer; Brazil; narrative; invention; tradition; populism; nationalism; modernity

Book.  320 pages.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Invention of the Beautiful Game

Chapter

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Playing for the Nation in The Invention of the Beautiful Game

Chapter

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Students and Masters in The Invention of the Beautiful Game

Chapter

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Epilogue in The Invention of the Beautiful Game

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