The Rise of Consumer Society in Britain, 1880-1980

By John Benson | Go to book overview

Chapter5
SPORT

The history of sport has received considerably more attention than the history of tourism. Yet historians of sport, like historians of tourism, have tended to approach their subject in a somewhat partial fashion. For they too find it difficult to define the object of their study; they tend to pay greater attention to the working class than to the middle and upper classes; and they display surprisingly little interest in the relationship between the history of sport and the history of consumption. 1

Accordingly it is the purpose of this chapter to consider the crucial -- albeit still overlooked -- relationship between sport and consumption. This will be done by considering the ways in which people's interest in sport influenced their behaviour as consumers: as players buying clothing, equipment and instructional material; as spectators paying for travel, refreshment and admission to events; as enthusiasts purchasing books, magazines and newspapers; and as gamblers visiting bookmakers and betting shops, and having a weekly flutter on the football pools.

This chapter, like the others in this part of the book, is divided into two. The first, briefer, section considers the major changes that have taken place nationally in the consumption of sporting goods and services; the second, considerably longer, section examines the differing experiences of those living in particular parts of the country, and of elderly, adolescent, female, and aristocratic, middle-class and working-class consumers. It will be argued that there have been three major developments: a major increase, and reorientation, in the amount spent playing sport; and substantial increases in the amounts spent watching, and gambling on sporting events.

However, once again such claims are easier to make than they are to substantiate satisfactorily. For it is much more difficult to define sport than it is tourism or shopping. Many scholars have attempted to differentiate sport from games, leisure and recreation. John Bale, for example, seeks to confine his discussion of sport

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The Rise of Consumer Society in Britain, 1880-1980
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS vi
  • LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS viii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One CONTEXT 9
  • Chapter 1: CHANGES IN DEMAND 11
  • Chapter 2: CHANGES IN SUPPLY 35
  • Part Two CHANGES 57
  • Chapter 3: SHOPPING 59
  • Chapter 4: TOURISM 82
  • Chapter 5: SPORT 110
  • Part Three CONSEQUENCES 141
  • Chapter 6: THE CONSOLIDATION OF NATIONAL IDENTITY? 143
  • Chapter 7 the Creation of Youth Culture? 164
  • Chapter 8: THE EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN? 180
  • Chapter 9: THE DEFUSION OF CLASS TENSION? 204
  • Conclusion 233
  • NOTES AND REFERENCES 235
  • GUIDE TO FURTHER READING 236
  • Index 240
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