Samba, Capoeira, Malandragem and National Identity: the Contradictions of a Racial Democracy

Edward Pablo de Sa Sauerbrunn


I intend to describe the process through which Brazilian National Identity was created beginning in the 1820s with the proclamation of independence, up to the 1930s with the advent of industrialization and culturalism. I will bring up terms such as samba, Capoeira, Malandragem and the Jeitinho Brasileiro (Brazilian Way). There will be a brief history of samba, a description of Malandragem dialectics, and also Capoeira, the Brazilian dance/fight. Ultimately, the purpose of this paper is to define what Brazilian National identity is, while throughout the paper pointing out the contradictions and the reasons behind those contradictions of the mythical racial democracy, Brazil.