International Centre for
Sports Studies

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2000 Neuchâtel
Switzerland
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News

Wed. 15 November 2017

Sport: The invention that is so British

Modern sport is not a common trait of humanity - an ongoing anthropological constant - , but is rather a fact of history or, to put it better, a cultural invention that was first developed in Britain. Its diffusion, although specifically connected to British values and the effects of this context, led it to spread to all continents and for it to impose itself as a dominant model of ‘body confrontation’. However, it was also a model for social diffusion. Despite sport initially being seen as an elitist activity, this gradually gave way to mass democratisation after the Second World War. Further, Switzerland did not escape from these dynamics. On the contrary, they welcomed it, and particularly so, due to the strong presence of British subjects on Swiss soil and also thanks to the growth of tourism and the reputation of residential schools for the young.

Christophe Jaccoud is an Associate Professor of Sport Sociology at the University of Neuchâtel and Scientific Collaborator at the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES). His research interests first considered the sporting practices of juveniles in urban areas and the public policies linked to sport. Later, he worked on the phenomena of violence around sports, a topic to which he has dedicated a large number of articles and publications. His more recent works have focussed particularly on women’s sports such as football and baton twirling, and the possible forms of emancipation which are linked to the associative engagement of juveniles. 

The interview is available (in French only) at the following link.