Horseracing, the media and British leisure culture, 1918–39
in Horseracing and the British 1919–39

The inter-relationships between racing and British culture, society and the media were ambiguous, complicated and subtle. This chapter explores the highly complex, sophisticated and resolutely populist cultural representations of racing and betting in the mass media, whose ideological power and dominant, negotiated and oppositional influences play a crucial role in fostering British sporting identity. Racing and the media were interdependent, shaping and reflecting the increased interest in racing and betting, whilst at the same time, in fiction and film, presenting a partial, distorted or imagined view of racing culture. The commonality of racing culture portrayed in the mass media helped both to define the collective identity of the British and to shift their interests more towards a frank enjoyment of leisure.

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