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Temples of the Earthbound Gods Stadiums in the Cultural Landscapes of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires by Christopher Thomas Gaffney

Temples of the Earthbound Gods Stadiums in the Cultural Landscapes of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires


Temples of the Earthbound Gods Stadiums in the Cultural Landscapes of Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires by Christopher Thomas Gaffney

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.


Written for both academic and general audiences, the book seems appropriate for undergraduate or graduate teaching as well as more widespread readership. I highly recommend Temples of the Earthbound Gods as both a lively read and an insightful reflection on sports and society in Latin America. * Journal of Latin American Geography *

About the Author

Christopher Thomas Gaffney is an independent scholar based in Durham, North Carolina. Also a journalist and local radio commentator, he has played soccer on four continents, winning the 1997 Taiwanese Footballer of the Year Award.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st December 2008


Christopher Thomas Gaffney

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University of Texas Press


285 pages


Cultural studies
Football (Soccer, Association football)



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