Playing the man: sport and imperialism 1900-1907

Levett, Geoffrey James (2014) Playing the man: sport and imperialism 1900-1907. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the relationship between sport, manliness and imperial identity in the years between 1900 and 1907. In the second half of the nineteenth century, driven by the public school ideology of muscular Christianity, participation in team sports, principally football and cricket, came to be viewed by social commentators as a central characteristic of the ideal English man. The ideology of muscular Christianity then spread throughout the rest of Britain and its Empire via schools and imperial institutions such as the army and civil service. By the end of the century the practice of sport was central to the conception of the manly imperial Briton. At the same time subjects of British rule began to participate in British sports in increasing numbers, leading to a public debate on their ability to embody imperial manliness. In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries there was a rapid growth in the playing of international sport, fuelled by faster means of communication between the metropole and the colonies, the development of a global media and the exploitation of sport as a commercial enterprise. This thesis argues that imperial sport was developed by a group of sports administrators, journalists, colonial officials and businessmen to foster a feeling of imperialism in the public at large. The matches they organised provoked a complex debate on imperial manliness. Defeat to colonial teams stirred anxieties about racial degeneration in the mother country, while debate surrounding the selection and performance of players from non-white communities in the empires of both Britain and France revealed competing visions of who could represent their empires in the public arena of sport.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > History, Classics & Archaeology
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2014 14:01
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2014 14:10
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/85

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