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They Will Have Their GameSporting Culture and the Making of the Early American Republic$
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Kenneth Cohen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501705496

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501705496.001.0001

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Sporting Cultures

Sporting Cultures

Chapter:
(p.204) Chapter 6 Sporting Cultures
Source:
They Will Have Their Game
Author(s):

Kenneth Cohen

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501705496.003.0007

The final chapter explores the experience of participating in mass sporting culture. It begins by introducing the notion of “cultural mobility,” a concept which describes how white men took advantage of both the accessibility created in the early national period as well as the re-introduction of standardized genteel and rough sporting spaces to challenge class stereotypes by moving easily between claims of genteel and raw masculine superiority. Political parties then drew from the cultural mobility at sporting events to appeal to the white male electorate through a new “mass politics” that continued to borrow heavily from sporting culture to emphasize democratic experiences despite widening disparities of wealth and hardening class lines. In the end, then, white men negotiated a sporting culture that rejected elitism but excluded others while crafting a reverence for wealth and a sense of equal opportunity. Because of sporting culture’s political salience in the white male republic, understanding this negotiation helps us understand not just the nature of sport but the nature and limits of democracy and power in the early nineteenth century.

Keywords:   Audiences, Spectators, Space, Architecture, Cultural Mobility, Mass Culture, Status, Class, Masculinity, Politics

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