The present study investigates some of the different ways in which English has been conceptualized in Brazil since the beginning of intensified globalization in the 1990s, and proposes how such conceptualizations relate to sociocultural, political and historical phenomena in the country. To this end, central texts (governmental documents, musical lyrics, cultural messages, educational policies, and language school commercials) of three domains of language regulation and use (political discourse, pop culture, and English language teaching) were examined through discourse analytical tools, text mapping, and content analyses. The investigation of each domain was supplemented by analyses of additional data (media texts, artistic work, and teacher interviews) that either confirmed or problematized results. Findings showed that the symbolic meanings of English in Brazil are caught in a heteroglossic web of discourses, which reflect diverse understandings of global processes, of the spread of English, and of Brazil itself. Tensions between authoritative and internally persuasive discourses, and between centripetal and centrifugal forces are revealed not only across different texts and realms - as reported in studies of English in other contexts - but also within domains, and within the discourses of the same people and institutions. It is argued that legislative authority, the role of the state, and the contradictions between discourses of mobility and empowerment and unsuccessful educational practices play a central role in the way English is understood and experienced in Brazil, confirming previous claims of an identity crisis, and revealing other crises of power, democracy, politics, and education. The study adds to the literature on English conceptualizations by bringing an understanding of the case of Brazil, which has not been as extensively investigated as other contexts. Moreover, the individual analyses presented bring new perspectives on the political discourses that have attempted to regulate loanword use in Brazil, and on the nature of language teaching in the country, besides emphasizing the role of pop culture in the understanding of English in that context. Further implications include the discussion of how the study of the spread of English may connect with different understandings of globalization, and the presentation of how the results contribute to language education.