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The emergence of sports and leisure markets in the Alps (XIX-XXI)

Call for papers Journal of Alpine Research

Rationale and objectives

The Journal of Alpine Research is planning to devote a special issue to the phenomenon of markets and structures related to the emergence of new sports practices and sporting goods (sports equipment, clothing, accessories) in the Alps from the late nineteenth century onwards.

Our fundamental question is to discern how and when new territorial practices emerge as a result of both sports and the development of new sporting equipment; an ancillary question thus arises concerning the way in which the market (taken as manufacturing, marketing and event management) responds to these developments. In the late nineteenth century, the rise of Alpine skiing gave birth to a novel market characterized by the existence of small shops, situated in the region around Lyon, Grenoble and Chamonix, vending sporting goods such as montaineering and ski-related items. The early twentieth witnessed the appearance of major sporting goods manutacturers as Rossignol.

Alpine skiing experienced vertiginous growth during the inter-war period and the “Trente glorieuses” (the Golden Age) due to an unprecedented rise in tourism; innovative companies specialized in the manufacturing / marketing all kinds of equipment contributed to the growth of the alpine territories but they also gave birth to a specific economy focusing on the practice of sports and alpine leisure activities in winter (mountaineering, skiing ...) as well as in summer (mountain biking, hiking, speleology).

Historically characterized by strong links between the sports world and the designers / producers, the diversity of interests (economic, sporting, political) has increasingly converged, abetted bythe dual dynamism of renewal materials for existing practices and new practices requiring new types of equipment. After the internationalization of the 1970-1980s and the diversification of 1990s (new snow, snow-shoeing, new vertical practices of the mountain or hiking), this market is now relatively stable, the emergence of these new practices offsetting the decline of the ski market.

Seeking to better understand the reasoning and motives underlying all those implicated in the Sports Environment while drawing on business history, Alpine history and socio-economics research into sports, the Journal of Alpine Research is inciting researchers to submit proposals highlighting the relationships between industrial development, territorial dynamics and sports activities in the Alpine region. Connections with the Alps will be essential in three particular approaches:

  1. business policies, whether manufacturing or marketing;

  2. products (outstanding innovations) and markets;

  3. sports activities (emergence / spread / obsolete practices, compared to the competition).

In addition, the editorial board eagerly solicits proposals drawing comparisons between different regions of the Alps.

Calendar of activities

Half a page proposals along with a brief presentation of the author (s) should be sent to Anne Dalmasso (anne.dalmasso@upmf-grenoble.fr) and Régis Boulat (regis.boulat@wanadoo.fr). Selected articles (30 000 characters, in French and English) should be sent by November 2011, for publication in 2012.

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