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Was Pierre de Coubertin a pacifist?

Abstract : Olympism often presents itself as "a philosophy of life" aiming to promote "a peaceful society." Pierre de Coubertin (1863-1937), the founder of the modern Olympics Games, is often seen as a great humanist in the history of modern sport. Indeed, scholars often state that Coubertin has worked all his life to promote social and international peace by the means of sports. In this respect, the "Olympic Truce" would stand as a symbol of the pacifists aims of Olympism. However, as my paper aims to show, those common depictions of Olympism rest on a misunderstanding of Pierre de Coubertin's conceptions of peace, conflict, and sport. First, Coubertin does not understand peace as a condition which excludes human conflicts. Second, he defined sports as a means for social control. Third, in Coubertin, sports are not directly a means to promote pacifists ideals. Rather, peace appears as means to promote the values and ideas embodied by the sportsman. My study delves into this ambivalent relation between peace and sport in Coubertin.
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https://hal-univ-lyon1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02328421
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Submitted on : Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 11:06:48 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 24, 2020 - 10:34:05 AM

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  • HAL Id : hal-02328421, version 1

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Raphaël Verchère. Was Pierre de Coubertin a pacifist?. Philosophical Journal of Conflict and Violence, Trivent Publishing, 2018, II (2), pp.342-350. ⟨hal-02328421⟩

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