Building the Brazilian Nation through Futebol-Mulato: Racial Democracy, Visual-Aural Capitalism and the Rise of Cultural Citizenship in Twentieth-Century Brazil

Author: Jung, Hoyoon
Journal: Social Evolution & History. Volume 20, Number 1 / March 2021


This study examines the dynamic and dialectic process through which Brazilian national identity had been constructed, and racial democracy and mestiçagem could become the dominant narrative of national myth throughout the twentieth century. I argue that football, among other popular cultures such as film, literature, samba, and carnival, can be marked as the most influential and powerful nation-builder which eventually enabled all Brazilians to embrace the myth of mestiçagem and racial democracy from the 1930s to the 1980s and 1990s to some extent. In other words, Brazilian football had significantly contributed that Brazilian people could share a commonly held sense of Brazilianness based on strong ethnocultural ties. This study emphasizes that visual-aural capitalism played a colossal role in this process, suggesting that the Brazilian imagined community came into being with the advent of vibrant visual and aural technologies – specifically, the dissemination of radio, film, and television – in the twentieth century.

Keywords: football, miscegenation, national identity, racial democracy, visual-aural technology.

Hoyoon Jung, University of Hawaii, Manoa more