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The Invention of the Beautiful GameFootball and the Making of Modern Brazil$
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Gregg Bocketti

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062556

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062556.001.0001

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Students and Masters

Students and Masters

National Identity and International Football

Chapter:
3 Students and Masters
Source:
The Invention of the Beautiful Game
Author(s):

Gregg Bocketti

Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813062556.003.0004

This chapter focuses on international football, which Brazilians saw as a proving ground of national worth. Well-to-do sportsmen fielded national select teams (seleção) which advertised Brazil as white and cosmopolitan, and were especially interested in using football as a form of diplomacy. Populist reformers demanded that talent be given greater weight in selecting representatives, and in the 1930s they used the seleção, which now included non-whites and working-class players, to argue they had created a better and more just Brazil. The chapter demonstrates that behind a veneer of inclusion lay many old tensions, since administrators still considered race, class, and region when building the seleção, and Brazilian nationalists continued to be sensitive to foreign opinion of Brazil. In promulgating Brazil’s “new” identity in the international arena, and portraying the national team as authentically Brazilian, reformers helped obscure these tensions.

Keywords:   international football, national team, seleção, diplomacy

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