Associativity, gambling and the rise of proto-modern British sport, 1660-1800

Huggins, Mike (2020) Associativity, gambling and the rise of proto-modern British sport, 1660-1800. Journal of Sport History, 47 (1). pp. 1-17.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.5406/jsporthistory.47.1.0001

Abstract

This paper argues that Stefan Szymanski’s theory that formal associativity in terms of British clubs and societies during the eighteenth century was the key factor in the spread of sport has been overstated. It was wagering, most especially the high-stakes “wagers” between wealthy individuals on sporting contests, stemming from notions of politeness, civility, and honor that generated media coverage, wider spectator interest, a larger betting market, and growing numbers of events, increasingly on a commercial basis. Wagering encouraged the development of sporting regulations to create “fair play” in gambling terms and to avoid subsequent disputes. Formal clubs and societies followed from this, but few were created before the 1760s. Later clubs were largely exclusive in membership terms, placed restrictions on play, and enjoyed dining (and drinking) as much as sport. The informal associativity around gambling was much more important.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Journal of Sport History
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISSN: 0094-1700
Departments: Institute of the Arts > Humanities
Depositing User: Christian Stretton
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2020 14:42
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 11:00
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/5497

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