In France, conflicts over nationhood in a globalised world are refracted through competing visions and models of the role of sport in society. The first model holds that sport has intrinsic virtuous qualities and acts as a space for the development and performance of Republican values. This model contends that the sport should be organised by and for the people through the democratic institutions of the State. The second vision recognises sport as primarily a form of entertainment for the masses, dictated by television corporations and media outlets, with sports stars constructed primarily to further commercial imperatives. In the back-and-forth between these rival visions, a range of issues are played out in the sporting sphere, from France’s postcolonial heritage to its post-industrial future, through concerns over Americanisation, corporatisation, immigration and commemoration.
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