Imagined Identities: Football and Nation in the Brazilian Sporting Chronicle of the Twentieth Century
Keywords: sporting chronicle, Brazilian literature, history of football, national identity, intellectual debate
AbstractThe thinking proposed here about football, expressed through the literary chronicles, was divided into two historical blocks according to their characteristics and context: the first block is related to the sociogenesis of sport in Brazil, when the chronicle of the early decades of the twentieth century used to discuss the functionality and representation of the sport in the new republican society. This struggle had its outcome as soon as the popularization of the sport and the launch of a new literary movement, the Modernist. In the second historical block, football was duly registered as a central element of Brazilian culture, assuming a role as an important agent in the construction of national identity. In these complex scenarios, fundamental issues for understanding the tensions surrounding football and literature were settled: what were the relations of power in the Brazilian literary field which were manifested in the chronicles about the sport? Unavoidably, would these relations showed through chronicle explicit the presence of a broader social context, while they would give evidence of the literary figure of some writers of national renown? Such issues had created, secondarily, other peripheral questions: what are the artistic boundaries of a genre which is stuck to the everyday? How was the intellectual debate about the sport’s social function in the literary field? How would be thought the historical moments of the construction of explanatory models, legitimated by sport and its respective literature? Thus, the objective is primarily to seek necessary clues to understand the sociocultural meaning of these placements and "dialogues" demonstrated in football chronicles. We started from the central hypothesis that, as public figures, the writers needed to establish power relations in order to back them up in the literary / intellectual fields. This hypothesis was confirmed, because the symbolic power generated by the artistic production enabled these writers to create and disseminate their own conception of world – sometimes through the tense dispute among writers at the beginning of the century, whose discussion was related to the assimilation of European habits and customs and the concept of an ideal of civilization; other times through the consensual and hierarchical configuration established since the formulations of Gilberto Freyre, in the second moment researched.