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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The history of sport can be considered an arena in which struggles over ways of doing things have worked themselves out, sometimes to the advantage of one class but occasionally to the benefit—or detriment—of more than one class. Sport has its antitheses—amateur versus professional, competitive versus noncompetitive, the individual versus the team—each of which contains class dimensions. In this chapter, players, fans, owners, governing bodies, and the media are treated as representatives, projections, or embodiments of classes and class fractions, struggling amongst themselves and occasionally against each other. The chapter emphasizes the formative influence of Great Britain and its class structure from the Industrial Revolution onward on the emergence of specific sports, the codification of rules, leagues, and fan bases. It analyzes the complex and sometimes contradictory nature of players as workers, their representation, and the particular dynamics between class and fan affinities.

Keywords: working class, labor unions, owners, fans, Great Britain, Richard Gruneau, Richard Holt

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