The ideal of the amateur competitor, playing the game for love and, unlike the professional, totally untainted by commerce, has become embedded in many accounts of the development of modern sport. It has proved influential not least because it has underpinned a pervasive impression of professionalism - and all that came with it - as a betrayal of innocence, a fall from sporting grace. In the essays collected here, amateurism, both as ideology and practice, is subject to critical and unsentimental scrutiny, effectively challenging the dominant narrative of more conventional histories of British sport.
Most modern sports, even those where professionalism developed rapidly, originated in an era when the gentlemanly amateur predominated, both in politics and society, as well as in the realm of sport. Enforcement of rules and conventions that embodied the amateur-elite ethos effectively limited opportunities for working-class competitors to ‘turn the world upside down’.
This book was previously published as a special issue of Sport in History.
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About the Author
Dilwyn Porter is Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Sport History and Culture at De Montfort University, Leicester. He has written extensively on twentieth century British history and on business history, especially financial journalism and mail order retailing. Recent articles and reviews on the history of sport have appeared in Sport in History, Soccer and Society and the International Journal of the History of Sport; with Adrian Smith, he co-edited Sport and National Identity in the Post-War World (Routledge, 2004). His interests in the history of sport centre increasingly on the history of amateurism and ‘shamateurism’ with particular reference to English football.
Stephen Wagg is a reader at Leeds Metropolitan University and has published extensively on aspects of popular culture and on the sociology and history of sport. He helped to pioneer academic studies of modern football with The Football World: a Contemporary Social History (1984) and went on to edit British Football and Social Change (1991) and Giving the Game Away: Football, Politics and Culture across Five Continents (1995). Recent work on the history of sport has appeared in Contemporary British History, Football Studies and Sport in History and he has edited a collection of essays Football and Social Exclusion (Routledge, 2004).