Academic journal article Ethnologies

Sport's Impact on the Francophoneness of the Alberta Francophone Games (AFG)

Academic journal article Ethnologies

Sport's Impact on the Francophoneness of the Alberta Francophone Games (AFG)

Article excerpt

Cet article examine le conflit entre deux discours sur le << sport >> et la maniere dont leur croisement avec les discours sur les << Francophones >> ont modele les Jeux francophones de l'Alberta (JFA). Une breve description des deux discours s'articule dans le contexte des JFA. Tandis que le << discours de l'excellence >> met l'accent a la fois sur la competitivite sportive et sur la reproduction de standards techniques et organisationnels etablis, le << discours de la participation >> promeut le sport recreatif et la modification des criteres structurels et techniques. L'auteur releve les trois debats principaux generes par l'interaction du sport et du discours sur la francophonie : la competition contre les jeux recreatifs ; les petits jeux << francophones >> contre les grandes competitions se deroulant en francais ; et le sport contre la francophonie. La conclusion fait remarquer la confusion de cet espace discursif et ses effets sur les pratiques des organisateurs, qui sont amenes a developper leur expertise en performance et en organisation sportive plutot qu'a developper une connaissance plus sophistiquee de leur promotion de la francophonie.

This article discusses the conflict between two discourses on "sport" and how their intersection with discourses on the "francophone" shaped the Alberta Francophone Games (AFG). A brief description of the two discourses is articulated in the context of the AFG. Whereas the "discourse of excellence" emphasizes both sporting competitiveness and the reproduction of established technical and organizational standards, the "discourse of participation" promotes recreational sport and the modification of structural and technical criteria. The author outlines the three principal debates generated by the interaction of sport and francophone discourses: competitive vs. recreational Games; smaller "francophone" Games vs. bigger French-speaking Games; and sport vs. francophoneness. The conclusion points to the effects of this muddled discursive space on organizers' practices leading them to focus on the development of an expertise in sport performance and in sport management rather than developing a more sophisticated knowledge of the promotion of francophoneness.


Il va y avoir aussi du Culturel, pas juste du sport (1).

[Title of the section on cultural activities, fifth AFG official program]

(SJFA 1997a: 7)

The inaugural Alberta Francophone Games (AFG) were staged in Edmonton in 1992, attracting about 150 participants competing in volleyball, badminton and track and field. All 12 to 18-year-old French speakers in Alberta are eligible to take part in the AFG, whether French is their first language or not and regardless of their sporting experience. Organized by Francophonie Jeunesse de l'Alberta (FJA), the Games were quickly established as one of the most, if not the most, thriving francophone youth event in the province. To better manage the growth of the Games, the Societe des Jeux francophones de l'Alberta (SJFA) was incorporated in 1994. By 1997, the sports program had expanded to include three-on-three basketball and soccer while the number of participants also increased, reaching approximately 300 at the 2000 AFG.

AFG founders and organizers conceived of sport as a way to attract French-speaking youth to an event that would promote francophone identity. They believed that sport conducted in French and under francophone auspices would be an effective medium to attract young people into the francophone community. Based on this presumed contribution of sport to community building, they gave the Games a dual mandate: the development of francophone pride and the development of sporting excellence (SJFA 1995a). However, in the practice of the AFG, the sport mandate has had the paradoxical effect of both sustaining and undermining the production of francophoneness. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.