Le cheval réinventé par la société des loisirs en Occident : une mythologie révolutionnée ? (XVIIIe-XXIe siècle)

Abstract : The horse has dominated Western history from ancient times through to the dawn of the modern era as an elitist symbol: it has been the companion of the ruling classes, an extension of the nobility’s elegant and armed bodies. Nevertheless, the social revolution that engulfed Europe at the end of the 18th century, reinforced by the industrial revolution of the 19th, was to shake this ancient mythology. While technological prowess made equine energy progressively obsolete, the emerging leisure market – in a world becoming increasingly urban – revitalized its use and its image in the world of the arts. What were the processes allowing such a development in the West? Can we speak about a silent revolution, accompanying and accompanied by a change of activities, which would transform 2,000 years of masculine and warrior allegories linked to the horse into more feminine symbols? Is the perception of the horse more widely echoed in the reinvention of our contemporary relationship with nature, in a society freed from the idea that the earth is there only to provide food? Does this perception at last show, through the phenomena of feminization and increasing youthfulness, a reconsideration of the place and role in society of gender and of children, primarily driven by the arts?
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Sylvine Pickel-Chevalier, Gwenaëlle Grefe. Le cheval réinventé par la société des loisirs en Occident : une mythologie révolutionnée ? (XVIIIe-XXIe siècle). Mondes du tourisme, Paris: Éd. touristiques européennes, 2015, Cheval, tourisme et sociétés / Horse, tourism ans societies, pp.26-49. ⟨www.mondesdutourisme.com⟩. ⟨hal-01572270⟩

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