Enduring passions: Football, Peronism and the politics of national identity in Argentina

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Abstract

The political contexts and history of football in Argentina are critical to an understanding of the game’s development in the country since the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The political and class-centred cleavages at the core of football’s identity forged a fusion of nationhood, ethnicity and society, impacting upon the game’s contemporary landscape. In particular, the post-war phenomenon of Peronism, based on Juan Peron’s leadership (1946–1955 and 1973–1974) defined a nexus reflecting political tensions in Argentine society, spawning a rich cultural and political legacy. This chapter evaluates the relationship between football’s mass populism and the mass movement of Peronism. It has four key themes. First, it contextualises the historical and cultural development of football within the rise of Peronism during the 1940s around the concepts of mass populism, cultural representation and political factionalism. Second, it considers the capacity of the game to legitimise nationalism, identity and political culture in the period. This analysis examines the relationship between Peronism and the sub-cultural mores of football. The study then considers the impact of Peron’s brief return to Argentina in the 1970s. Finally, the chapter reflects upon the legacies of Peronism within contemporary Argentinian football.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFootball, Politics and Identity
EditorsJames Carr, Daniel Parnell, Paul Widdop, Martin J. Power, Stephen R. Millar
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter6
Pages93-107
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-00-300262-8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2021

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