From Zinedine Zidane to Michael Jordan and from Marie-José Pérec to Lance Armstrong, over the last thirty years, numerous individuals have emerged through the global sports industry to capture the imagination of the French public and become touchstones for the discussion of a host of social issues. This book provides new insights into the evolution of the global sporting spectacle through a study of star athletes, emblematic organisations, key locations, and celebrated moments in French sport from the mid-1980s to the present day. It draws on a wide range of sources, from film, television, advertising, newspapers, and popular music to cover key developments in sports including football, motorsport, basketball, and cycling. Sport here emerges as a privileged site for the discussion of the nature of contemporary nationhood, as well as for the performance of France’s postcolonial heritage. Simultaneously, sport provides a platform for the playing out of concerns over globalisation, and, in a time of post-industrial uncertainty, for nostalgic reminiscences of an apocryphal bygone era of social cohesion. The exploration of these themes leads to new understandings of the ways sport influences and is implicated in broader social and cultural concerns in France today.
"This study is a timely one, both in terms of the clear contemporary relevance of the issues that it discusses, but also, more pragmatically, in terms of the growing general interest worldwide in France as a sporting nation."
Hugh Dauncey, Newcastle University
“This book should become required reading for academics and students of French sports studies wishing to bring themselves up to date with current thinking about developments in French sport, culture and society in the last two decades.”
Geoff Hare, Newcastle University