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Temples of the Earthbound Gods

Temples of the Earthbound Gods

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  • Book Info
    Temples of the Earthbound Gods
    Book Description:

    In Rio de Janeiro, the spiritual home of world football, and Buenos Aires, where a popular soccer club president was recently elected mayor, the game is an integral part of national identity. Using the football stadium as an illuminating cultural lens, Temples of the Earthbound Gods examines many aspects of urban culture that play out within these monumental architectural forms, including spirituality, violence, rigid social norms, anarchy, and also expressions of sexuality and gender.

    Tracing the history of the game in Brazil and Argentina through colonial influences as well as indigenous ball courts in Mayan, Aztec, Zapotec, Mixtec, and Olmec societies, Christopher Gaffney's study spans both ancient and contemporary worlds, linking the development of stadiums to urbanization and the consolidation of nation building in two of Latin America's most intriguing megacities.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79373-6
    Subjects: Population Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-xii)

    The stadium is a significant feature of places ranging from metropolitan centers to small towns and villages. The stadium, like the church, is a place of congregation—and, some would say, worship. In addition to the church, several other metaphors seek to essentialize the stadium—a garden, a theatre, and a prison. On the one hand, it is a much-loved place that folks often want to retain as a community focus and as a site that stimulates a sense of pride. On the other, it is arguably the most secure building in the city; hence, it has historically been used...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xx)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  6. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxiii-xxvi)
  7. CHAPTER ONE The Stadium in Theory and Practice
    (pp. 1-39)

    Like many others throughout the world, you have probably experienced the drama and passion of sport with tens of thousands of others, screaming, shouting, celebrating as one. Perhaps you have had your memory indelibly scored by a great musical performance, religious ceremony, or political rally. Maybe you have had your heart quickened by a monster truck show or a NASCAR race. Or it could be that you were (or are) skilled enough to play in stadiums and recount your glory days or imagine yourself playing in front of fifty thousand adoring fans. You might work at a stadium, or pay...

  8. CHAPTER TWO Rio de Janeiro: Spiritual Home of World Football
    (pp. 40-76)

    Two blocks from the touristy beaches of Salvador, Brazil, is a bar called Charles Miller. The décor is floor to ceiling soccer: signed jerseys, historical photos of teams and players, flags, scarves, posters—and over the bar hangs a well-dusted photo of Mr. Miller. The Brazilian Gisella Morua begins his account of the early history of Brazilian soccer by musing, “When Charles Miller stepped off the boat in Santos on the 9th of June, 1894, carrying his bag and a ball and other equipment, he couldn’t have imagined that this moment would mark the official introduction of soccer to Brazil.”¹...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Stadiums and Society in Twenty-first Century Rio de Janeiro
    (pp. 77-121)

    On the way to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro from the Tom Jobim International Airport one gets a sense of the city that exists beyond the realm of the popular imagination. The elevated Red Line (Linha Vermelha) whisks eight lanes of traffic past the industrial neighborhoods of Penha, Ramos, and Vila do João: favelas extend to the western horizon, kites bob in the sky, political propaganda is smeared on unsteady brick. The Carlos Castilho Olympic Village appears on the right; locals plod around the dusty track, boys kick about on the hard-packed dirt. On the left snippets of Guanabara...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Buenos Aires: Estadiolandia
    (pp. 122-148)

    As the bus rolls alongside the Rio de la Plata towards the working-class neighborhood of La Boca, it steadily fills with fans wearing the blue and yellow shirts of Club Atlético Boca Juniors. Legend has it that these colors were chosen when team founders standing on the docks adopted the flag of the next ship they saw pull into port. It was a Swedish ship, and more than a century later blue and yellow flags adorn the houses of this impoverished barrio at the southern extremity of the Ciudad de Buenos Aires. By the time the bus arrives at the...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Class and Conflict in the Stadiums of Buenos Aires
    (pp. 149-179)

    Soccer stadiums dominate the sporting landscape of Greater Buenos Aires, but Argentine athletic achievement is by no means limited to soccer. In December 2005 Argentina’s national teams were ranked in the world’s top ten in rugby, men’s Davis Cup tennis, men’s basketball, men’s and women’s field hockey, men’s and women’s volleyball, men’s soccer, and had numerous world-class boxers.¹ If the international polo federation kept national rankings, Argentina would hold the top position without ever facing a serious challenge. This level of sporting success on the global stage suggests a pervasive, institutionalized culture of sport and a proliferation of sporting venues....

  12. CHAPTER SIX Comparative Cultural Urbanism
    (pp. 180-210)

    Stadiums communicate across space and time, linking us to the past and future in a cauldron of the present. As elements of urban cultures all over the world, stadiums are lenses through which we can interpret, compare, and understand each other. Each stadium is ensconced in its locale and cannot help but tell us about the people who build, use, or experience it. Taken as interlocking bits contained within larger social, economic, political, and geographic networks, stadiums describe patterns and flows that move from the tailgate party to the transnational corporation. The inherent complexity of stadiums permits varied interpretations of...

  13. APPENDIX A. Stadiums in Rio de Janeiro, 2007
    (pp. 211-212)
  14. APPENDIX B. Clubs and Stadiums in Buenos Aires, 2007
    (pp. 213-215)
  15. APPENDIX C. Time Line, Brazil
    (pp. 216-217)
  16. APPENDIX D. Time Line, Argentina
    (pp. 218-219)
  17. notes
    (pp. 220-233)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 234-248)
  19. Index
    (pp. 249-260)