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How colonial history shaped bodies and sport at the edges of empire

By Francois Cleophas, Senior Lecturer in Sport History, Stellenbosch University
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Since the 1990s, studies of sport have tended to focus on science, at the expense of physical culture studies. The once thriving field of physical culture studies – how people shape their bodies culturally – has also had a bias. It has tended to focus on body strengthening, healthy living and beautifying (or neglect), all from a Eurocentric perspective.

The result is that ordinary people uncritically accept modern marketing of what it is to be healthy – fad diets, expensive gyms, branded sportswear and more.

There is more to sport, though, than a performance element. Sport…

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