Civilization and Sport in Colombia’s Drive to Modernization
Torres Velasco, Javier
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This paper discusses the manner in which modern spectator sports developed in Colombia in the decade of the 1920s as part of the country’s efforts to modernize. An examination of the dominant theories of the diffusion of European sports to the Latin American elites and eventually to the populace as a technique for social control is undertaken. Scant immigration into the country as well as high mortality rates for men and women resulting from civil war and disease make Colombia a case of special interest. Rather than the introduction of a single sport, we embark on an analysis of leisure, scouting, gymnastics, and sports to describe the matrix from which sporting practices develop. A careful examination of the 1920s press reports allows for a careful description of the roots of these physical activities, the emergence of a new social actor, the sportsperson, and the role of state regulation in the field of sports.