Mass culture and mass politics, 1934–1940

Joan Tumblety

in Remaking the Male Body

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199695577
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745072 | DOI:
Mass culture and mass politics, 1934–1940

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This chapter demonstrates that radical political movements on left and right invested even more heavily — rhetorically and pragmatically — in the mobilizing potential of sport and physical culture in the heightened atmosphere of crisis in the mid- to late 1930s. Distinctions between mass politics and mass (physical) culture often collapsed entirely as sports stadia were used across the political spectrum as sites for mass political expression. A considerable part of this chapter is devoted to the highly significant but under-researched sport and physical education society (SPES) in the radical rightist Croix de Feu/PSF. Here and elsewhere the chapter interrogates not only how such movements continued to use athletic manliness as a tool of popular political mobilization, but also how far these factions themselves took part in the public conversation about male bodily decline, biological degeneration, and its correction through socially hygienic physical exercise.

Keywords: crisis; popular front; mass politics; Croix de Feu; social hygiene

Chapter.  20318 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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