The Moral Glocalization of Sport: Local Meanings of Football in Chota Valley, Ecuador

Publication Date: 
March 2015
52.1: 82-96


Publisher Link


Studies of the glocalization of sport usually focus on ‘aesthetic glocalization’ (how local actors adopt a global sport and create a new hybrid aesthetic). This has led some critics to dismiss glocalization as a superficial ‘façade’ of diversity hiding global homogeneity. This paper challenges this view by looking at the ‘moral glocalization’ of sport and at the ways local actors give global sports local moral meanings. Drawing on interviews with Afro-descendants from Chota valley, Ecuador, it shows that in this peripheral community football is seen as: (1) a morally safe emotional outlet; (2) a moral education; (3) a source of national ‘communitas’; (4) racial pride; (5) a space for local moral heroes; and (6) a gateway to communal progress. In conclusion, local actors give global football deep moral meaning when they can associate it to local conceptions of the sacred.