Sports Republics: A practical response to the events of May ’68?

By Yvon Morizur

Although the Républiques des Sports (Sports Republics) experiment from 1965 to 1972 is intrinsically linked to the work and personality of Jacques de Rette, its implementation should be contextualized and understood in its practical dimension too. This article therefore aims to shed light on the establishment of this pedagogical experiment in high schools. The sources used are archives and accounts from people who set up Sports Republics in their schools. The hypothesis seeks to establish a link between the setting up of Sports Republics and the events of May ’68 in France. Although these events can be considered as triggers, the implementation of this experiment relied on a synergy between actors involved in national and/or local networks and represents a local response to the issues raised during the events of May ’68. Without ignoring the political and ideological dimension, the focus of this analysis is on the professional dimension. It was, in a way, a good time to transform and modify existing practices. In line with the events of May ’68, the starting point of this study is the establishment of a new relationship between teachers and students, based on the involvement of students in a democratic process (elected commissions, representativeness, and so on). However, this work required time and organization, blurring the boundaries between civic education and sports practice. Moreover, it entailed a high level of commitment for the teachers involved. All of these elements shed new light on this pedagogical experiment that had a marked impact on the field of French physical education.

  • Sports Republics
  • May ’68
  • network
  • student-teacher relationship.
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