Sport in Modern Europe: perspectives on a comparative cultural history

Anyone with an active interest in the history of sport will be glad for an introduction to the Sport in Modern Europe research network. It’s being led by Dr. Chris Young at the University of Cambridge assisted by Professors Alan Tomlinson of Brighton and Richard Holt at De Monfort.

Chris summarizes the goals of the group:

Until now there has been no attempt to draw together and critically examine the various strands of research emerging from across Europe, and North America. No person or even small group of individuals could hope to master the diverse range of research material on the subject; and there is, to date, no forum for collaborative exchange between experts from different disciplines, countries and national scholarly traditions. This is exactly what our network is striving to achieve.

Sport as a participant activity and as a spectator entertainment has been a central cultural feature of European economic, social and political life in the “long” twentieth century. There is now a critical mass of research on the development of sport in Europe from the diffusion of British sport in the late 19th century to the collapse of the Soviet bloc in the late 20th century. However, there is no general account of the modern history of European sport from a comparative and international perspective.

The last symposium in their series is taking place in Cambridge this Easter, but summaries and reactions to early symposia have been posted on the website and make excellent reading.

Plans are in place for presentations in Germany and Italy, and follow-up projects that may include a book and journal special issues.

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