Call for Papers: The Making of a Global Market: Resort Skiing, Knowledge Transfer, and Media Culture during the Post-War Era (1950s-1970s)

Philipp Strobl's picture
Call for Papers
November 30, 2016
Subject Fields: 
World History / Studies, Sport History / Studies, Social History / Studies, Journalism and Media Studies, Economic History / Studies

Call for Papers: The Making of a Global Market: Resort Skiing, Knowledge Transfer, and Media Culture during the Post-War Era (1950s-1970s)

We are seeking contributions for a peer reviewed, edited volume about skiing, knowledge transfer and media culture in ski resorts during the post-war era (1950s-1970s) which is intended to be published at a high quality publishing house in 2017.

Skiing as a sport has been practised in various forms and shapes for a long time. The earliest artefacts have been dated back to about 6,000 BC. In the last 150 years or so, alpine skiing has emerged and undergone “many improvements and almost metamorphoses” (Allen, 2012). But it was only in the post-war era that skiing turned from a niche sport into a multi-billion-dollar industry. The post-war-model of single purpose ski resorts attracted an increasing amount of visitors to mountainous regions all across the world and helped “morphing the sport from an elite practice to become a keystone of middle-class identity” (Denning, 2015).

The broadening of media sports cultures through the mainstreaming of television and the introduction of video supported the spread of ski resorts. The media coverage of ski competitions promoted the sport, creating visibility for ski cultures around the world. With resort skiing gaining popularity, formerly undeveloped, often inaccessible, regions in mountainous regions became centres of a mass industry, attracting skiers to specific, purposefully built places to practise the sport.

Research examining these historical developments will offer fresh insights: It will uncover a variety of critical domains such as knowledge exchange, migration, modernization and tourism – and interrogate the “strong interactive influences of various countries and certain persons in the sport” (Hoffmann, 2013). It will also discuss the significant role of media in the creation of emerging mass cultures around skiing. Many accounts document the influence of Austrian and Swiss know-how in the development of new areas: The establishment of ski resorts in the American west, for example, is described as a “facsimile of the Alps” (Denning 2015) with “a Gasthaus here and a Bierkeller there” (Allen, 2012). In the Australian context, the narrative of European influence is present as well, as migrants from Europe built up Australian post-war resorts according to what they have learned in various resorts all over the European Alps (Cross, 2012). In any case, the question if and how developers all over the world drew on similar patterns to create resorts, needs further exploration. Due to a lively exchange between the single resorts in different countries, an increased mobility of skiers, as well as global media coverage of ski events, ski resorts soon turned into transnational spaces.

The edited volume wants to analyse worldwide exchange processes and pin down flows of knowledge, ideas and thoughts that took place in ski resorts across the world during the 1950s and 1970s. Since “the power of sports media – especially for an emergent sport – can have the effect of profoundly influencing its developmental direction” (Rowe, 2015), this book will also consider the role of media culture in the development of resort skiing as a mass phenomenon during that time. “Research about intercultural transfer necessarily depends on comparisons” (Paulmann, 1998) and the book follows a comparative approach that allows seizing dynamic developments in different parts of the world and placing it into a global context.

Scholars from all academic disciplines are strongly encouraged to contribute to this new approach by providing a case study which addresses some of the following questions:

  • Direction and Diffusion of Knowledge: How did ideas and concepts of winter mass tourism in ski resorts spread across the world? What type and/or direction of exchange of ideas and concepts can we discern? Was there a multi-layered multi-directional exchange of ideas or did ideas and concepts rather spread from dominant to peripheral regions?
  • Realisation and Translation of Knowledge: How was the practice of skiing shaped in different regions of the world? Did some resort developers simply copy patterns of other resorts or did they configure existing concepts to local needs? Was there something like a “global formula” for the creation of successful resorts
  • Actors: Who were the leading figures in the creation of different ski resorts (Differences and commonalities)? To what extent did migrants contribute to the development process? Where there any globally operating companies in ski resorts? What was the role of passionate enthusiasts and grassroots collectives? 
  • Popularisation and Media Culture: What role did media play in the creation of ski resorts and establishing an easily recognizable ski culture? What ideas and social norms associated with skiing did media disseminate, and through what content and media forms?     
  • Material culture and consumption: What were the patterns of a new middle-class culture of consumption in ski resorts? And how did technological developments (including equipment), fashion and advertising figure in embedding skiing as consumption practice? How did innovations in practice diffuse?

Please send a brief CV and a proposal of no more than 400 words by November 30, 2016 to, and to The book will be edited by Aneta Podkalicka (Monash University, Melbourne) and Philipp Strobl (Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne)

Contact Info: 

Philipp Strobl

Swinburne Institute for Social Research

Swinburne University of Technology

H53, PO Box 218, Hawthorn  VIC  3122

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