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Embodied NationSport, Masculinity, and the Making of Modern Laos$
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Simon Creak

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838898

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838898.001.0001

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Renovating the Body, Restoring the Nation/Race

Renovating the Body, Restoring the Nation/Race

2 Renovating the Body, Restoring the Nation/Race
Embodied Nation

Simon Creak

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter explains that while the French may have laid foundations in the 1920s and 1930s, it was during the Lao Nhay cultural renovation movement of 1941–1945 that colonial sport and physical culture effloresced into a major feature of local culture and politics. Sport and physical training arrived first in the major centers of Indochina before emerging as a key instrument in efforts to build “pro-French nationalism” in Laos. Many ideas, practices, and institutions failed to make it to Laos, the remotest of the Indochinese territories, and the intent and nature of other innovations were adapted to the Lao situation. Nevertheless, the flow of ideas and practices through the Vichy French Empire explains the rapid growth of sport and physical training in the middle of the twentieth century, and the masculine body's emergence as a key site for the expression of early cultural nationalism in Laos.

Keywords:   colonial sport, physical culture, Lao Nhay cultural renovation, Vichy French Empire, physical training, pro-French nationalism, cultural nationalism

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