Soccer for the Urarina

In the article, State of play: The political ontology of sport in Amazonian Peru, Harry Walker discusses the importance of sport among Urarina people and how it is central to the moral and political order. The Urarina play soccer daily as it is a regular part of life in which children, teenagers, and adults all come together. Although soccer is played mostly for having fun, it has a deeper cultural meaning to this community, as it is one of their main ways of unification and rules. Walker states that playing soccer “is one of the first things they learn” which shows that the sport is essential to a child’s development and they acquire learned traits through it. The child watches others thus learning to behave like them and also learning from interacting with others. This sport brings together the Urarina, which is important because it shows that soccer itself is used to unify a group of people.

Soccer is directly linked to identity in Peru. It is something that many in Peru such as the Urarina take great pride in and have integrated to be a part of who they are. The Urarina people see soccer as a universal sport that has set rules and ideals, which they apply to their community. These people have taken a sport and given it cultural meaning as it is perceived and interpreted differently in many other cultures. Soccer for the Urarina starts teaching children as soon as they can begin to play and is rooted in their culture.