The stadium century

Sport, spectatorship and mass society in modern France

By Robert W. Lewis

The stadium century


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0626-1
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: December 2016
  • BIC Category: History, European history, 20th century, c 1900 to c 1999, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century, HISTORY / General, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Humanities / European history, Modern History, History, Social & cultural history, History & Archaeology
  • 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.'
Philip Dine, National University of Ireland, Galway, Review of Books


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 University Polytechnic, Pomona

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