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Historians, Authoritarian States and Spectator Sport, 1880–2020

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Like all the major social theories of its era, socialism did not anticipate the explosion of sports activity that occurred in the latter half of the nineteenth century. During these years, the burgeoning working classes gained a measure of free time from their labors on the factory floor. They used this increased leisure in a variety of ways, including the playing and watching of sports. When workers took this time to relax, socialists hoped their pursuits would be rational and healthy. A number of groups on the left promoted sporting activities, but these efforts assumed a minor role in the activities of the various electorally successful socialist parties whose intellectual leaders were largely indifferent to the new trends that were entertaining so many workers.


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Correspondence to Robert Edelman .

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Edelman, R. (2016). Historians, Authoritarian States and Spectator Sport, 1880–2020. In: Corner, P., Lim, JH. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Mass Dictatorship. Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-1-137-43762-4

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