The stadium century

Sport, spectatorship and mass society in modern France

By Robert W. Lewis

The stadium century


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0624-7
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2016
  • BIC Category: Modern History, History, Social & cultural history, History & Archaeology, History, European history, 20th century, c 1900 to c 1999, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century, HISTORY / General, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / European history, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000
  • Series: Studies in Modern French and Francophone History


The stadium century traces the history of stadia and mass spectatorship in modern France from the vélodromes of the late nineteenth century to the construction of the Stade de France before the 1998 soccer World Cup. As the book demonstrates, the stadium was at the centre of debates over public health and urban development and proved to be a key space for mobilising the urban crowd for political rallies and spectator sporting events alike. After 1945, the transformed French stadium constituted part of the process of postwar modernisation but also was increasingly connected to global transformations to the spaces and practices of sport. Drawing from a wide range of sources, the stadium century links the histories of French urbanism, mass politics and sport through the stadium in an innovative work that will appeal to historians, students of French history and the history of sport, and general readers alike.


'The geography of French sport has thus lagged somewhat behind its history, albeit with important exceptions, such as the work of Jean-Pierre Augustin. Robert Lewis's contribution to redressing this imbalance is consequently to be welcomed, offering a concise guide to a built environment that is both complex and characterized by a fundamental paradox. [.] his monograph confidently locates the development of the nation's sporting infrastructure within a broader societal evolution, pulling together the narratives of modernization, consumerism and mass culture in a persuasive synthesis that deserves to be widely read.'
French History

'Anyone interested in the history of French sports can read Lewis's work as a stand-alone book because his clear and careful analysis provides ample background. One of the principal strengths of the book is his attention to the large context of sports during the interwar period.'
Journal of Sport History


1 A 'grand stade' for Paris: stadia, urban planning and the 1924 Olympics
2 'A civic tool of modern times': politics, mass society and the stadium
3 Sportsmen or savages? Stadium sport and its spectators, 1900-60
4 Stadium travels: spectatorship, territorial identity and global connections, 1900-60
5 Postwar modernisation and the stadium, 1945-98


Robert W. Lewis is Assistant Professor of History at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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