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09 - La fabrique des sports

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Peppino Ortoleva

Plaisirs ludiques et dynamique des médias dans les sports de masse

Le Temps des médias n°9, automne 2007, p.19-34

Immediately after World War One, Roger Caillois in Les jeux et les hommes, defined the elements that characterize how people played games: while professionals play and train hard and respect rules, amateurs play for free, and share emotions and dreams as a form of fiction. There is a distinction between sports as a professional activity and sports as a pleasure, indeed as a passion. In sports such as football, cycling or basketball, there is a puzzling division of labour between two different social groups: the professionals are physically involved and have to respect the rules, but their goals are very practical (money) and their involvement in the fictional world of teams, flags etc. is limited at best. The opposite is true for the followers and fans. What is it that enables the latter to « participate without being on the field », to feel the pleasure of playing without really playing? The author identifies two levels of mediation: on the one hand, the unique moment in the individual biographies of most male kids and teen-agers when a team is chosen, generally for life; on the other, the recurring rite of following the contests, via various communication technologies and media. This is why the development of the media, throughout the XXth Century, deeply influenced the forms of participation and even the rules of the game - as the author shows by comparing the representation of sports in the press, radio, television, and in subsequent media. DrapeauFrancais

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