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Training the people. A transnational history of sport in interwar Europe.

Description du projet

L’évolution du sport européen dans l’entre-deux-guerres

Le sport a subi des changements considérables au cours de l’entre-deux-guerres. En réalité, cette période est particulièrement importante pour l’histoire du sport. Par exemple, l’amateurisme a fait place à des idéaux nationaux et sociaux. Le monde du sport s’est également très politisé. Jusqu’à aujourd’hui, l’histoire de ce processus de changement n’avait été étudiée qu’au niveau national. Par conséquent, il reste inexploré dans sa dimension transnationale. Le projet Training People financé par l’UE étudiera la nature évolutive du sport européen dans une perspective transnationale, révélant les similitudes et les différences entre les nations. Le projet se concentrera sur trois aspects principaux du sport européen liés à la perception des campagnes d’hygiène et de santé, à la politisation des événements sportifs et au remplacement croissant de l’amateurisme par le professionnalisme.


This project will explore the changing nature of European sport in the interwar period from a transnational perspective, combining cultural, political and social history. Based on the German, French, Italian and British cases but with reference to other countries, this innovative work will permit the writing of a standard work to fill a major gap in the subject which has been dominated by national histories.
The interwar years were a critical period for the development of sport in Europe: the traditional ‘amateur ideal’ gave way to athletes who embodied new national and social causes. The flourishing development of physical culture (German Turnen and games, Swedish/Danish gymnastics, ‘English’ sports…) was marked by the powerful politicising of sport as well as the expansion of the press and broadcast media, which influenced people and governments to an unprecedented degree. The ideal of the ‘New Man’ best exemplified this change. This research will bring to the fore the similarities that have been obscured as well as striking national differences. In taking Europe as a point of departure, this work will focus on three areas. (1) Hygiene: how the post-war body was to be (re)educated: (1.1) national health campaigns and (1.2) new school curricula. (2) The politics of sport: as expressed through (2.1) the nature and extent of institutionalisation and (2.2) the growing importance of ‘mega events’, especially the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. (3) The increasing specialisation of sport: (3.1) how amateurism came under threat from professionalism and (3.2) how scientific research into physical culture was expanded.
The researcher brings all the necessary qualities and maturity to realise this highly ambitious project. She will be hosted in a major German university by a world-leading professor recognised for his scientific excellence and dynamism in the field. The project’s sources are held in various European libraries and institutions already known to the researcher.


Contribution nette de l'UE
€ 174 806,40

Voir sur la carte

Nordrhein-Westfalen Münster Münster, Kreisfreie Stadt
Type d’activité
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Coût total
€ 174 806,40