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Topophilia (From Greek topos "place" and -philia, "love of"[1]) is a strong sense of place, which often becomes mixed with the sense of cultural identity among certain peoples and a love of certain aspects of such a place.

History of the term[edit]

Alan Watts's autobiography, In My Own Way (1972), starts with the sentence: "Topophilia is a word invented by the British poet John Betjeman for a special love for peculiar places." But it was W. H. Auden who used the term in his 1948 introduction to John Betjeman's poetry book Slick but Not Streamlined. The term later appeared in the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard's highly influential The Poetics of Space (1958). James W. Gibson, in his book A Reenchanted World (2009) also argues that topophilia or "love of place" is a biologically based, close cultural connection to place. Gibson says that such connections mostly have been destroyed in modernity but argues that "more and more people are trying to reinvent them."

In relation to local sports[edit]

Sports geographer John Bale in his article "Enshrined in Blood" (The Sports Historian, 17, 2) has noted the opportunities sport stadia have for topophilia, citing five metaphors that make stadiums particularly topophilic:

  1. They are 'sacred spaces' for their followers, particularly if euphoric or tragic incidents have taken place within them, such as the Hillsborough disaster.
  2. They often have 'scenic' qualities, such as the view of the Gateway Arch at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.
  3. As a 'home' to the team and the fans, it can have psychological advantages to both.
  4. The stadium might be a 'tourist' attraction to visitors, a must-see venue. Some stadiums, such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground have fee-charging tours when matches are not even occurring.
  5. Deep local pride may be tied up with particular stadiums.[2]


  1. ^ 'Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language
  2. ^ Giulianotti, Richard, Sport: A Critical Sociology, p 122

See also[edit]

External links[edit]