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
‘Besides explaining sportsworlds, the book prompts a reflection on colonial legacies, migrations, neo-colonialism, multinational corporations, North-South inequalities and new forms of exploitation. Confirming sportscapes as pertinent sites of inquiry to understand numerous socio-cultural dynamics in Europe, the book is highly relevant beyond Francophone studies, reaching into post-colonial studies at large, as well as studies of mobility, youth, media and communication, and borders.’
Hélène B. Ducros, EuropeNow
Reviews'Due to its interdisciplinary nature, it is extremely valuable and relevant to not only sport and European historians, sociologists, and sport media and communication experts but also anyone who is enthusiastic about French and European sports, as well as better understanding the persistent economic and social stratifications and inequalities in modern society. In fact, the book may prompt profound and potentially uncomfortable yet necessary discussions about postcolonial heritage and legacies, migration, neocolonialism, multinational corporations, and commercialism, as well as hypermediatization, deterritorialization, and other new forms of exploitation.'
Katja Sonkeng, International Journal of Sport Communication