Accepted paper:

From Brazil to the World: Migration Infrastructures of Professional Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black-Belts

Authors:

Raphael Schapira (The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies)

Paper short abstract:

I will explore three different infrastructures that Brazilian jiu-jitsu (Bjj) teachers use to find employment abroad: the official Bjj immigration program of the United Arabic Emirates, being sent abroad as a representative of a Bjj team, and self-organized emigration through personal contacts.

Paper long abstract:

In my presentation, I will explore different types of infrastructure that enable professional Brazilian jiu-jitsu (Bjj) teachers to emigrate from Brazil to other countries. The martial art Bjj is one of the fastest expanding martial arts worldwide. Ever since Royce Gracie made Bjj known to a worldwide audience by winning the first Ultimate Fighting Championship, Brazilian Bjj black-belts have used their corporeal capital to emigrate to other countries, finding employment as experts in self-defense. On the basis of interviews conducted during my Ph.D. fieldwork with Brazilian Bjj teachers, I aim to investigate three different types of emigration strategies: a) becoming part of the professionally managed Bjj immigration program of the United Arabic Emirates, b) being sent abroad as a representative of a Brazilian Bjj-team, and c) self-organized emigration through personal contacts to sport gyms in another country. In my paper, I will explore these different types of infrastructure, explain the motivations of Brazilian Bjj teachers to seek employment abroad, and discuss some of the constraints that Brazilian Bjj black-belts encounter in using these infrastructures for their emigration.

panel P085
Engineering mobilities: exploring the infrastructures mediating transnational highly-skilled migration [ANTHROMOB] [Traditional panel]