'We close towns for a living': spatial transformation and the Tour de France

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Abstract:

This paper explores the ways in which the passage of the Tour de France bicycle race through France produces a distinctive cultural cartography or social map of France. Drawing on Lefebvre's (1991) conceptual triad of spatial practice, representations of space and representational spaces, the paper argues that the Tour de France both represents and is a space that is annually reordered and structured by very particular cultural practices. Through an analysis of the process (and politics) of route selection, the incorporation of iconic landscape and the transformation of civic space as the race moves across the country, the paper foregrounds the socially constructed nature of map making and the role of human intervention in producing and reproducing key cultural cartographies of France through the Tour de France.

Keywords: Lefebvre; Tour de France; cartographies; national identity; spatial transformation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2010.523841

Affiliations: School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University, Durham, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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