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Reading: Sport and the Nation in “Proceso Argentina”: Dictatorship, Media and the Rise of Guillermo V...

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Sport and the Nation in “Proceso Argentina”: Dictatorship, Media and the Rise of Guillermo Vilas and Carlos Reutemann

Author:

David M. K. Sheinin

Trent University
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Abstract

In 1986, as the final game of the World Cup of soccer wound down, as Argentina emerged victorious for the second time in eight years, the economist and future Argentine foreign Minister Guido di Tella jumped to his feet. To a small group assembled in front of a television set he shouted, “you see! We are a great nation!” Di Tella’s euphoria was widespread in Argentina that day, but scarcely the first link of sport to ideals of nation. For decades, Argentines had tied soccer players, boxers, and other athletes to notions of modernity, tradition, and Argentine identities. Since the 1920s, for example, the archetypal Argentine soccer hero, represented in different players over time, had demonstrated the quintessential “Argentine” traits of high skill, grit, individualism, and a drive to win. During the proceso – the period of the last military dictatorship (1976-1982) – many Argentines found solace, escape, and inspiration in sports at a time of unprecedented political and military violence. At the same time, the military regime invested dramatic importance in the 1978 World Cup of soccer, staged in Argentina, as a marker for Argentine progress and as an event Argentine leaders hoped (in vain) would counter a mounting international chorus against human rights abuses in Argentina.

How to Cite: Sheinin, D.M.K., (2009). Sport and the Nation in “Proceso Argentina”: Dictatorship, Media and the Rise of Guillermo Vilas and Carlos Reutemann. Middle Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies. 22(1), pp.24–53. DOI: http://doi.org/10.23870/82
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Published on 01 Jan 2009.
Peer Reviewed

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