Essay: El Tango – a reflection of Argentine identity

Course: Regional orientation: history, society and culture of Latin America and the Caribbean, Part II (Social and Cultural Identity Construction)

October 2008

Master: Latin American and Caribbean Studies, University of Utrecht


Te conozco de otras tierras

Embarcaste en tu país

Con los zuecos de madera

Y en cabina de tercera

Te encontrabas muy feliz...

Pero despúes te cambiaste.

Convencido por engrupir

Empezaste por decir:

- ¿Yo?...¡Argentino, señor!

(Verses from the Tango ‘Morocho’ which deals withself-denial of an immigrant who tries to strip himself of his social and ethnic descent)

When thinking of Tango, the association with Argentina is not far out of reach, as it is known worldwide for its Argentinian roots. Yet it is a common mistake to say that Tango is thé music of Argentina, Tango being the cultural expression of the Rio de la Plata. I wanted to find out more about the origins of the Tango and in what way it is actually embedded in Argentine society. The main question that I asked myself was: How did the Tango become a ‘legitimate’ model of Argentine identity? This essay is a perfect opportunity for me to explore the matter, by looking into the history of Tango with respect to the development of a national identity within the modern nation-state of Argentina. It is hereby essential to look at the national and the foreign context, thus the evolution of Tango within and outside the geographical boundaries of Argentina. Larrain’s (2000) historical-structural conception of national identity, the concept of popular culture and the hitherto ongoing discours of nationality, social class and ethnicity, will serve as relevant points of reference in this the exploration.

Tango is often referred to as a reflection, or rather a projection, of Argentine identity which has been affected and transformed through historical circumstances in Argentina and Europe since it’s origin in the late nineteenth century. The transformations have manifested themselves in the music and lyrics of Tango, both reflecting the evolution of Argentine national identity, as has been constituted by Gustavo Varela1 amongst other

... Interested? Read the instructions below in order to read the full content of this page.

Access options


The full content is only visible for Logged in World Supporters.

More benefits of joining World Supporter

  • You can use the navigation and follow your favorite supporters
  • You can create your own content & add contributions
  • You can save your favorite content and make your own bundles
  • See the menu for more benefits

Full access to all pages on World Supporter requires a JoHo membership

  • For information about international JoHo memberships, read more here.



Support JoHo and support yourself by becoming a JoHo member


Become a Member



Contributions, Comments & Kudos

Add new contribution

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Summaries & Study Note of JulitaBonita
Join World Supporter
Join World Supporter
Log in or create your free account

Why create an account?

  • Your WorldSupporter account gives you access to all functionalities of the platform
  • Once you are logged in, you can:
    • Save pages to your favorites
    • Give feedback or share contributions
    • participate in discussions
    • share your own contributions through the 11 WorldSupporter tools
Access level of this page
  • Public
  • WorldSupporters only
  • JoHo members
  • Private