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22 Pages

The potrero and the pibe

Territory and belonging in the mythical account of Argentinean football* Eduardo f. Archetti

In Argentina, football is a privileged arena for the analysis of the formation of national identity and the construction of masculinities (Archetti 1994). At the beginning of the twentieth century, football was seen as an imported British sport, which became national and internal to Argentina at a moment when the global network of exchanges and sports competitions was developing. Football made it possible for Argentinean men to compete, and become visible, on the world scene (the Olympic Games, South American tournaments and, since 1930, the World Cup). Ideas of territory and belonging are asserted and redefined through the imagery of football where, for instance, the importance of external forces is recognised in the contrasts created between the various playing styles of national elites and outsiders. Notions of territory and belonging are also expressed through the contrasts and inversions established between rural and urban images, reflected onto the identities and bodies of particular football players.