Historical Social Research

Jens Jäger: A Fist on the Cover. Some Remarks on Visual Sources in Sports History. [Abstract]

Visual sources are extremely important for the understanding of the development of modern sports. Images in magazines, newspapers, books, collecting cards, and all the paraphernalia pertaining to sports shape the collective notion of what sports means and which values are connected with it. This article about a specific image which made a cover of the leading French sports magazine La Vie au Grand Air in 1908 explores the possibilities of historical analyses of media coverage in sports including images. The content of an image, its immediate and wider context including iconographic traditions and conventions and how they work together are taken into consideration. The special character of photographs in the media makes them pivotal for the contemporary promotion of sports and the specific way to imagine concepts of a modern body around 1900 and beyond as an outdoor activity and way of life.

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