Patriotic Games
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Patriotic Games : Sporting Traditions in the American Imagination, 1876-1926

4.28 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In Patriotic Games, historian Stephen Pope explores the ways sport was transformed from a mere amusement into a metaphor for American life. Between the 1890s and the 1920s, sport became the most pervasive popular cultural activity in American society. During these years, basketball was invented, football became a mass spectator event, and baseball soared to its status as the "national pastime." Pope demonstrates how America's sporting tradition emerged from a society fractured along class, race, ethnic, and gender lines. Institutionalized sport became a trans- class mechanism for packaging power and society in preferred ways-it popularized an interlocking set of cultural ideas about America's quest for national greatness. Nowhere was this more evident than the intimate connection established between sport and national holiday celebrations. As Pope reveals, Thanksgiving sports influenced the holiday's evolution from a religious occasion to a secular one. On the Fourth of July, sporting events infused patriotic rituals with sentiments that emphasized class conciliation and ethnic assimilation. In a time of social tensions, economic downturns, and unprecendented immigration, the rituals and enthusiasms of sport, Pope argues, became a central component in the shaping of America's national identity.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 226 pages
  • 165.1 x 231.14 x 20.32mm | 476.27g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 8 pp halftones
  • 0195091337
  • 9780195091335

Review quote

Pope has done a masterful job to give us a definitive account of the time when sports and national identity came to be connected. The clarity and specificity of his language made this book a pleasure to read. Those in the development of American sports should read this book, as should anyone curious about how the rhetoric of nationalism became dependent upon its connection to the rhetoric of athletics * The International Journal of the History of Sport *show more

Back cover copy

Between the 1876 centennial and the 1926 sesquicentennial, a national sporting culture was firmly established in the United States. In Patriotic Games, historian S. W. Pope examines this remarkable rise of sport and America's sporting ideology, telling a story that illuminates the deepest workings of a society coping with social tension, economic dislocation, and unprecedented immigration. As Pope reveals, the study of sport's ascension offers a unique window into a larger historical process whereby men and women, social classes, and racial and ethnic groups struggled over different versions of not only how to work and play, but what to value. More than mere amusement, sport both as metaphorical activity and class drama helped define and present distinct American visions through public discourse and through people's actual experiences on ballfields, in gymnasiums, and on playgrounds throughout the country. By 1920, most Americans thought organized sports provided the social glue for a nation of diverse classes, regions, ethnic groups, and competing political loyalties. How did this consensus come about? Incorporating Eric Hobsbawm's suggestion that nations throughout the western world "invented" rituals, mythologies, and rhetorical traditions, Pope shows how sport became a key cultural carrier of patriotic meaning.show more

About S. W. Pope

Steven W. Pope is an Instructor at the University of Southern Maine.show more

Rating details

7 ratings
4.28 out of 5 stars
5 43% (3)
4 43% (3)
3 14% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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