Accepted Paper:

Football and the domestication of money: mimetic strategies of Maskoy people in the Paraguayan Chaco  


Valentina Bonifacio (Ca' Foscari University of Venice)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses why football and volleyball games have become central activities in the everyday life of Maskoy people of the Paraguayan Chaco. Behind the façade of similarity with White people’s practice, in fact, other social goals are achieved.

Paper long abstract:

This paper addresses the issue of the massive adoption of football and volleyball by Maskoy indigenous people of the Paraguayan Chaco. I argue that the adoption of these 'Western' games on the part of indigenous people is part of a wider mimetic strategy through which indigenous people attempt to become accepted by the surrounding society by adopting dominant visual/structural features. However, the adoption of football and volleyball has not been undertaken in a passive way: while retaining the visual identity of the performance, the space/time of the game is the space/time in which money is made visible and socialised. The antagonistic nature of football and volleyball games allows players to become involved in an elaborate betting system through which money is circulated and made acceptable within a broader social context in which money is seen as dangerous. The antagonism between the players allows money to circulate and enhance sociality instead of conflict.

Panel W007
Staging sport and celebration: the power of play