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Rugby on the High Plateaus: A Physical Culture of Combat and Emancipation

Évelyne Combeau-Mari 1 
1 CRESOI - Centre de Recherche sur les Sociétés de l'Océan Indien
OIES - Océan Indien : Espaces et Sociétés
Abstract : Rugby was brought into Madagascar with French colonisation and General Gallieni’s troops in 1896, and at the outset was reserved for the military and colonists for training and entertainment. However, shortly after the end of the First World War, the elites of the High Plateaus moved away from the austere ‘French Method’ to focus on playing rugby and use it as a means of supporting national emancipation. In this article, we propose to look at this original process of cultural transfer during this period of French colonisation in Madagascar. We also intend to assess the historical circumstances in which this British sport was introduced and the motives justifying the Malagasy people’s appropriation of a team sport such as rugby beginning in the inter-war period. It will be seen that this was both a cultural and social transfer, as the democratisation of the game went hand in hand with its desertion by the educated fringe of the population at the moment of independence.
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Évelyne Combeau-Mari. Rugby on the High Plateaus: A Physical Culture of Combat and Emancipation. International Journal of the History of Sport, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2011, 28 (12), pp.1703--1715. ⟨10.1080/09523367.2011.592765⟩. ⟨hal-01244108⟩



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