State of the Field: Physical Culture

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This article surveys the state of the field of physical culture within the discipline of history. Understood broadly as a society's interest in gymnasium and health cultures, physical culture has become a topic of increasing importance for historians, sociologists and performance scholars in the past two decades. Seen as a distinct field from sport history, works on physical culture have evolved from sporadic and one-off studies to nuanced discussions about the idealised body and its broader social message. As such, studies of physical culture have become excellent platforms for the often implicit ways in which body types have been used in discussions of race, nationalism, class, gender and medicine. Although studies of physical culture began over a century ago, the field has only recently begun to enjoy scholarly attention and, thereby, evolve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-162
Number of pages20
JournalHistory. The Journal of The Historical Association
Issue number374
Early online date6 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 22 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. History published by The Historical Association and John Wiley & Sons Ltd


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