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Classes and CulturesEngland 1918-1951$
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Ross McKibbin

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206729

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206729.001.0001

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The Sporting Life

The Sporting Life

(p.332) IX The Sporting Life
Classes and Cultures

Ross McKibbin

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the history both of national sports, those broadly representative of society as a whole: cricket, football, rugby, horse-racing, and fishing, and of ‘sectarian’ sports, whose following was much narrower. It considers the forces that encouraged or inhibited their popular following. The chapter also considers the relationship of women to sport, and the role of betting both in sport and society. It discusses English sport in the international sphere and what the apparent loss of international sporting competitiveness might reveal about English social codes more generally. Sport was one of the most powerful of England's civil cultures. However, the period was not equally kind to all sports. As a rule, ‘middle-class’ sports did well, especially in the interwar years, by exploiting the physical and numerical expansion of the middle classes.

Keywords:   national sports, cricket, football, betting, rugby, horse-racing, angling

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