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Conference papers

Role played by the French State in the development of outdoor sports since 1965

Abstract : The Union of Outdoor Centres (UCPA in French) was created in France in 1965 on the State’s initiative. It resulted from the merging of two entities: the National Union of Mountain Clubs and the French Water Sports Union. At a time when youth movements were disintegrating, this organization offered a unique model to spread outdoor activities for young people both in the mountain and on the coast. This paper aims to present the setting up of this association and the place of the State in its governance. Demonstrating this involves highlighting the role endowed to the UCPA to develop the practice of outdoor sports and the means used to carry out that mission. This study relies on the unpublished archives of the association and more specifically the minutes of the meetings between its leading bodies. Further information was obtained from the archives of the State Secretariat for Youth and Sports in the national archives. This research shows that the State greatly supported the UCPA, allocating it human resources and entrusting it with Centres previously funded by the State. Still, the activity of the UCPA resembled that of emerging tourist associations which were beginning to focus the tourist experience on sport, as with Club Med. However, the State’s investment in a sector partially pertaining to the business sector was justified by the educational vocation of the UCPA, while its economic model aimed at making sport accessible to the greatest number. Nonetheless, as time went by, the “providential State” model crumbled due to various economic crises and the necessity to cut public expenditures. Therefore the UCPA progressively changed its operating model which became closer to that of a business enterprise. However, in such conditions, can it sustain its value system which relies on an educational mission pertaining to public service? Does the State still have a legitimate place within the association board of directors? The latest developments of the UCPA raise questions as to the limitations of the present public service.
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Contributor : Pierre-Olaf Schut Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Saturday, October 14, 2017 - 9:50:12 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, January 15, 2022 - 4:05:54 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01616830, version 1



Pierre-Olaf Schut. Role played by the French State in the development of outdoor sports since 1965. 44th Annual Convention of the North American Society for Sport History, May 2016, Atlanta, United States. ⟨hal-01616830⟩



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