Forms of competition in proto-modern eighteenth-century English sport: a tentative typology

Huggins, Mike ORCID logo ORCID: (2021) Forms of competition in proto-modern eighteenth-century English sport: a tentative typology. Sport in History, 41 (4). pp. 469-495.

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Scholarship on sporting competition during the eighteenth century has been lacking, and its socio-cultural context is not yet widely understood. This paper moves consideration of sporting competition back to this important period of sporting ‘proto-modernity’. It begins by setting it clearly in its cultural context, showing how while eighteenth-century English sporting culture gained increased elements of commonality, it was always differentiated by local, regional and sport-specific variations. It was increasingly commercialised, and linked to increased associativity and the popularity of wagering. The paper then attempts to build a tentative typology of the various forms of sporting competition then emerging, such as matches between two individuals, animals or groups; competitions where several individuals competed alongside each other to get a winner; elimination, knockout, or sudden death competitions; practice matches, unofficial competitions in which the aim was to prepare for future matches; the importance of challenges; the growing popularity of championships; and other aspects of competition. Finally, it provides a sense of the key changes and continuities in pre-and post-eighteenth-century competition to allow a sense of comparison.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Sport in History
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group
ISSN: 1746-0271
Departments: Institute of Arts > Humanities
Additional Information: Mike Hugginsis Emeritus Professor of Cultural History at the University of Cumbria, UK. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered,transformed, or built upon in any way.
Depositing User: Christian Stretton
Date Deposited: 07 May 2021 08:04
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 12:01


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