Craig Owen, Nicola De Martini Ugolotti,‘Pra homem, menino e mulher’? Problematizing the gender inclusivity discourse in capoeira, International Review for the Sociology of Sport , First Published November 14, 2017
Blog post on article by Craig Owen This paper uses Foucault’s understanding of power and discourse as the main theoretical focus.
Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian bodily discipline that has now become a global phenomenon. In 2014 the cultural significance of capoeira was recognized on the world stage when it was awarded the special protected status of an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. In the application to this organisation, and in wider advertising material and practitioner literature, capoeira is celebrated as a practice that promotes social cohesion, inclusivity, integration, racial equality and resistance to all forms of oppression. This paper seeks to problematize this inclusive discourse, exploring the extent to which it is both supported and contradicted in the gendered discourses and practices of specific capoeira groups in Europe. Drawing upon ethnographic data, produced through two sets of ethnographic research and the researchers’ 24 years of combined experience as capoeira players, this paper documents the complex and contradictory contexts in which discourses and practices of gender inclusivity are at once promoted and undermined.
capoeira, ethnography, gender, inclusivity, masculinity