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To undertake a survey of the historical and socio cultural sweep of tennis exploring key themes from governance development and social inclusion to national identity and the role of the media It is presented in three parts historical developments; culture and representations; and politics and social issues

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Routledge Handbook of Tennis

And features contributions by leading tennis scholars from North America Europe Asia and AustraliaThe most authoritative book published to date on the history culture and politics of tennis this is an essential reference for any course or program examining the history sociology politics or culture of sport

Robert J. Lake à 5 Read

Tennis is one of the world's most popular sports as levels of participation and spectatorship demonstrate  Moreover tennis has always been one of the world's most significant sports expressing crucial fractures of social class gender sexuality race and ethnicity both on and off courtThis is the first book


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  1. says:

    Shortlisted for the North American Society of Sports History Prize for the Best Edited Collection in Sports History 2020 As than one of the contributors to this impressive and important overview of the state of tennis note for a sport so widely played and so popularly supported it has a surprisingly small amount of scholarly research To a large degree we are dependent on a small body of critical work there is an awful lot written about tennis as there is many other sports – but not much of it scholarly and with a critical as in evaluative edge most recently a lot of which has been the result of Rob Lake’s energetic efforts to build research networks His network building may be seen in the array of contributors that he has assembled for this field defining collectionAlthough built around three principle groupings – historical approaches cultures representations and politics and ‘social issues’ – much of the collection as a very strong historical awareness although this is a little weaker in the third section than first two Alongside this awareness there is in many pieces close attention to the continuity change dialectic grounding even many of the most contemporary focused analyses in an historical outlook In doing so the authors have disrupted the all too pervasive presentism of much writing about sport – both scholarly and popular this is not to say that all have done so but that the overall tone of the collection is one of an historically informed critical disposition I’m not sure however that these handbooks are intended to be read cover to cover as I have done here; I have several others and have treated them as reference books to delve into for specific issues – but might have to rethink my approach I have a real sense of having a comprehensive sense of the game and of the scholarship at least the Anglophone scholarship around it A small number of the essays are versions updates and adaptations of previously published pieces although overall this is new work with a solid multi disciplinary grounding in the social sciences and humanities so while predominantly historical and sociological there is strong work also from material culture analysts cultural studies literary and fine arts analyses and similar areas There are several stand out pieces At the top of my list Suzanne Rowland’s analysis of late 19th and early 20th century tennis dresses that notes that while they are heavier than we’d expect to be comfortable in current styles there are notable design features in cut and form that mean that women players may have been much mobile than we’ve assumed This is an excellent case of looking again at old claims and considering material culture leading to a need to rethink some of the assumptions about women’s athleticism Other major contributions include José Alamillo’s exploration of tennis US Latinx communities building on the profile and experiences of Richard “Pancho” González and Rosie Casals to unpack a complex story than we might assume overlaying ‘race’ and class in a nuanced analysis This is alongside some impressive ‘recovery’ work especially dealing with women’s tennis experiences A real strength of the collection is the complex and nuanced image of tennis as gendered and especially the situation of women in the game There are of course significant gaps it would be nigh on impossible to give a comprehensive global view Mahfoud Amara’s discussion of tennis in the MENA countries is welcome – but aside from it and valuable essays on Argentina India and Czech Republic there is little in the way of national analyses from outside the North Atlantic nexus of the USA and northern and western Europe This is disappointing especially the silences on almost all of Africa eastern Europe central South America Russia and East Asia – and I suspect to a large degree reflects at least the English language scholarship on the sport The Routledge Handbooks are intended to be both a state of the play assessment of a field or issue as well as acting as a comprehensive overview of that field of study Taken in that light these silences show how sparse the research on tennis is reinforcing the observation many have made about the paucity of scholarly research As impressive as this is then as a state of the art assessment it also shows how much needs to be done Even with those gaps however this is a major contribution to the field that pushes scholarly study of tennis to new levels