Contesting independence
Colonial cultures of sport and diplomacy in Afghanistan, 1919–49
in Sport and diplomacy
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In 1919, Afghanistan won its independence from British suzerainty. In each subsequent year, the state celebrated the event by staging military parades and organising cultural programmes – and sporting competitions. This chapter considers the independence games from the perspective of British diplomats in Afghanistan who also took part in the contests. In particular, the chapter studies the reports written by British diplomats on the games and explores how notions of fair play and athleticism were projected on the independent state of Afghanistan. The chapter asks if these reports are indicative of larger political and/or colonial ambitions. Complicating conventional assumptions on the primacy of the political in diplomatic relations, this chapter suggests that the physical encounter constituted a central feature in British–Afghan relations.

Sport and diplomacy

Games within games

Editor: J. Simon Rofe


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