'This is Boedo' Stories of a Lost Football Stadium, a Buenos Aires Barrio, and How the Hinchas of San Lorenzo Fought to Return

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Hawkins, Matthew




Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro is one of Argentina’s largest professional football teams. In 1979, during Argentina’s civic-military dictatorship (1976-1983), the club was forced to close its stadium the Gasómetro located on Avenida La Plata in the Buenos Aires barrio (neighbourhood) of Boedo. The property became a Carrefour retail store in 1985. Clubs in Argentina are large member-operated social, culture, and sport institutions offering a wide range of activities alongside professional football. Clubs are often identified with their place in the urban landscape. The idealized club de barrio (neighbourhood club) of Buenos Aires, in particular, has had a profound social and cultural influence on the production of the barrio as a space in the city. In turn, the historic relationship between the barrio and the club generates a sense of belonging that hinchas feel towards their club’s barrio. San Lorenzo’s hinchas claim that through the loss of the old Gasómetro their connection to Boedo was unjustly severed. Over the past fifteen years a social movement organized by the club’s hinchas (supporters) called the Vuelta a Boedo (Return to Boedo) grew into a politically successful campaign to regain the property with the hope of one day building a new stadium. This dissertation examines how the Vuelta a Boedo generated a politicized narrative that draws from the history of the club, the performative solidarity of the football crowd, a politics of memory and justice, and the collective storytelling of hinchas of San Lorenzo. It argues that an intertextual reading of Argentina’s football crowds and the country’s political-economy more generally is required to understand how the Vuelta a Boedo emerges. Shared memories of the Gasómetro refract through the claims made by human rights organizations to articulate why the loss of the stadium should be perceived as a social injustice. This dissertation demonstrates how hinchas and their football clubs to contribute to the production of urban space. Finally, the dissertation argues for the centrality of the affective relationships between hinchas produced and mediated through their match-day performances.


Cultural Anthropology




Carleton University

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