Sport, counterfactual history, and rugby’s twin codes

Smith, Adrian (2004) Sport, counterfactual history, and rugby’s twin codes International Journal of the History of Sport, 21, (1), pp. 97-108. (doi:10.1080/09523360412331306033).


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Counterfactual history attracts considerable opprobrium, yet enthusiasts defend the intellectual validity of considering what could have occurred as opposed to what actually did. A prerequisite that the variables must be minimized in the interests of plausibility suggests the history of sport(s) - if not actual competition - can generate plausible consequences significantly different from the real outcomes: for example, a counterfactual scenario in which the Northern Union established a firm foothold outside its industrial heartland. What would have been the local and national consequences of rugby league consolidating its pre-1914 position in Coventry and Leicester? How did these clubs view rugby league pre-1995, and how have these attitudes changed significantly since?

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/09523360412331306033
ISSNs: 0952-3367 (print)
ePrint ID: 12202
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2005
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 23:53
Further Information:Google Scholar

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