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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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Building and Rebuilding the Society of Football

Building and Rebuilding the Society of Football

2 Building and Rebuilding the Society of Football
The Invention of the Beautiful Game

Gregg Bocketti

University Press of Florida

This chapter analyzes the character and function of the institutions of Brazilian football. Well-to-do sportsmen organized the first teams and they were the first sportswriters, which allowed them great influence over organized football, and they designed significant limits on the involvement of women, nonwhites, and workers. Reformers successfully challenged the sportsmen in the 1920s and 1930s, helping to bring nonwhite and working-class players into the game, which they framed as a democratic victory. However, the chapter demonstrates that this did not mean that football had been transformed. Participation remained contingent on the will of middle-class and wealthy white administrators and journalists, whose influence was reinforced by the support of the Getúlio Vargas government. The chapter demonstrates that the early twentieth century was characterized by the renovation of elite privilege, even though popular memory has suggested the period as a whole, and football in particular, saw elite privilege eroded.

Keywords:   clubs, leagues, media, professionalization

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