Malandragem and Ginga: Socio-cultural constraints on the development of expertise and skills in Brazilian football

UEHARA, L, BUTTON, C, SAUNDERS, J, ARAÚJO, D, FALCOUS, M and DAVIDS, Keith (2020). Malandragem and Ginga: Socio-cultural constraints on the development of expertise and skills in Brazilian football. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching.

Davids-MelandragemGinga(AM).pdf - Accepted Version
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (299kB) | Preview
Official URL:
Link to published version::


In an ecological dynamics rationale, the development of expertise in sports is shaped by interactions of personal, task and environmental constraints. A notable outcome of this process is the distinctive performance styles of athletes shaped by socio-cultural-historical constraints. To understand this process, we examined the role of socio-cultural constraints shaping the development of skill in Brazilian football players at the macrosystem level. A range of data sources were inductively generated and analysed through the qualitative interpretative paradigm, including historical contextual analysis, participant observation, and unstructured interviews. Malandragem (i.e., cunning) emerged as a major focus and our findings suggested that behavioural characteristics, such as mischief and deception, are common attributes valued by many elite Brazilian footballers. Our analysis suggests how the value system of Malandragem is a product of the socio-cultural constraints primarily influenced by the Mulattos’ cultural traditions, historically interacting with particular socio-economic conditions. In Brazil, Malandragem can manifest itself through the Ginga (i.e., body sway) playing style in which footballers move deceptively to gain competitive advantages over opponents. Whilst the theatrical antics of contemporary Malandros (i.e., tricksters and/or streetwise persons), such as Neymar Junior, are frowned upon by many football critics, we argue that some aspects of being Malandro may be contributing to the development of a high level of perceptual-motor and cognitive functioning that has underpinned the Ginga playing style in Brazilian football for many decades.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 11 Medical and Health Sciences; 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2021 17:56
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 16:32

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics