Citizens and Sportsmen: Fútbol and Politics in Twentieth-Century Chile

Paperback | May 15, 2012

byBrenda Elsey

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Fútbol, or soccer as it is called in the United States, is the most popular sport in the world. Millions of people schedule their lives and build identities around it. The World Cup tournament, played every four years, draws an audience of more than a billion people and provides a global platform for displays of athletic prowess, nationalist rhetoric, and commercial advertising. Fútbol is ubiquitous in Latin America, yet few academic histories of the sport exist, and even fewer focus on its relevance to politics in the region. To fill that gap, this book uses amateur fútbol clubs in Chile to understand the history of civic associations, popular culture, and politics.

In Citizens and Sportsmen, Brenda Elsey argues that fútbol clubs integrated working-class men into urban politics, connected them to parties, and served as venues of political critique. In this way, they contributed to the democratization of the public sphere. Elsey shows how club members debated ideas about class, ethnic, and gender identities, and also how their belief in the uniquely democratic nature of Chile energized state institutions even as it led members to criticize those very institutions. Furthermore, she reveals how fútbol clubs created rituals, narratives, and symbols that legitimated workers' claims to political subjectivity. Her case study demonstrates that the relationship between formal and informal politics is essential to fostering civic engagement and supporting democratic practices.

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Fútbol, or soccer as it is called in the United States, is the most popular sport in the world. Millions of people schedule their lives and build identities around it. The World Cup tournament, played every four years, draws an audience of more than a billion people and provides a global platform for displays of athletic prowess, natio...

BRENDA ELSEY is Assistant Professor of History at Hofstra University. Her research interests focus on politics and popular culture in Latin American history.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:327 pages, 9.02 × 6.02 × 0.75 inPublished:May 15, 2012Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292743939

ISBN - 13:9780292743939

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroductionChapter One. Rayando la Cancha—Marking the Field: Chilean Football, 1893–1919Chapter Two. The Massive, Modern, and Marginalized in Football of the 1920sChapter Three. "The White Elephant": The National Stadium, Populism, and the Popular Front, 1933–1942Chapter Four. The "Latin Lions" and the "Dogs of Constantinople": Immigrant Clubs, Ethnicity, and Racial Hierarchies in Football, 1920–1953Chapter Five. "Because We Have Nothing . . .": The Radicalization of Amateurs and the World Cup of 1962Chapter Six. The New Left, Popular Unity, and Football, 1963–1973EpilogueNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Overall, Elsey has given us a well-executed, sorely needed national case study relevant to Latin America's most popular sport. It is jargon free and appropriate for undergraduates as well as scholars interested in political history, sports studies, or popular culture. Its strengths guarantee that it will be a measuring stick for the studies of Latin American soccer sure to emerge in coming years. - Jeff Richey, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill