Sports training, science and class among British amateur athletes in the mid to late nineteenth century

Mewett, Peter 2006, Sports training, science and class among British amateur athletes in the mid to late nineteenth century, in TASA 2006, Sociology for a mobile world : conference proceedings of The Australian Sociological Association 2006 Conference, Australian Sociological Association, St Lucia, Qld., pp. 1-10.

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Title Sports training, science and class among British amateur athletes in the mid to late nineteenth century
Author(s) Mewett, Peter
Conference name Australian Sociological Association. Conference (2006 : University of Western Australia & Murdoch University)
Conference location Perth Western Australia
Conference dates 4-7 December 2006
Title of proceedings TASA 2006, Sociology for a mobile world : conference proceedings of The Australian Sociological Association 2006 Conference
Editor(s) Northcote, Jeremy
Publication date 2006
Conference series Australian Sociological Association Conference
Start page 1
End page 10
Publisher Australian Sociological Association
Place of publication St Lucia, Qld.
Summary Organised amateur sports emerged in the second half of the nineteenth century. This paper, an exercise in historical sociology, analyses how a new system of sports training was devised by the amateurs to meet their particular needs. The data comes from contemporary British training manuals and the analysis is informed by the theories of Bourdieu and Foucault. That amateurs came from the higher social classes was highly
significant: it meant that they could not adopt existing training practices because these were associated with plebeian professional athletes. For amateurs to have followed the preparation of the professionals would have placed their bodies under the control of a social inferior and promoted a somatic shape more in keeping with the lower than with
the higher social orders. Mirroring the social distance between them, amateurs came to stridently reject professional training practices. Instead, they devised new training techniques which were justified through recourse to contemporary bio-medical knowledge. It is argued that amateur training originated for social reasons, with the proponents’ class positions and social capital facilitating the evocation of scientific knowledge as a legitimating ideology.
ISBN 9781740521390
Language eng
Field of Research 210305 British History
HERDC Research category E1 Full written paper - refereed
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30006102

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of History, Heritage and Society
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