Bullfighting and Cockfighting: The Survival of Regional Culture
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The impact of modern sports like football, rugby and cycle-racing in the period 1890 to 1930 was so dramatic that it is all too easy to overlook the continued importance of more traditional forms of spectator sport in the provision of public amusement. Just as the spread of the English ball games tends to overshadow an equally remarkable growth in field sports or gymnastics, so in the case of spectator sports it. is difficult to avoid the tendency to concentrate on the new at the expense of the indigenous or old-established. In the case of France this bias is particularly unfortunate because one of the most important and distinctive themes of French physical recreation concerns the survival and successful adaptation of traditional activities. Of those which continued to he popular — skittles, quoits, boating, wrestling and field sports, for example — the two with the greatest spectator appeal were bullfighting and cockfighting. The survival of these animal sports during the modernising phase of the early Third Republic gives a useful indication of both the strength of regional customs and the pragmatism of Republican legislators. Not only did the two activities resist the combined challenge of the rise of rival spectator sports and the eflbrts of humanitarian reformers to have animal sports banned, but in certain areas these events increased in popularity as time passed.
KeywordsRegional Culture Republican Politician Field Sport Protestant Church Large Crowd
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