Running as a way of life

Physical practice after the Boom 

When Bill Bowerman published a book entitled “Jogging” in 1967, he gave a name to an emerging physical activity which more or less coincided with the end of the so-called Boom and which has been practiced by millions of people since the 1970s. From solo running on designated forest tracks to fighting for one’s individual record in mass running events like the Berlin or Boston marathon, long-distance running started to get moving the “middle class”. From a historical point of view, the analysis of jogging serves as an instrument for studying the ways in which social and cultural general principles and actions found their physical expressions after the 1970s and the changes they underwent.

The key questions of the project are: Under which consumptive conditions did the popular sport of long-distance running take place: Did people act as “good citizens” of the consumer society or, on the contrary, did they behave defiantly?

How did the modern body, the “susceptible machine”, change in the light of emancipation, New Age, and Humanistic Psychology? Did it undergo continuous therapy or did it act as an entrepreneurial self taking preventive action?

In what way was the body the setting of paradox political and physical conflicts between the readiness for defense and the peace movement, between fitness and wellness?
The study is carried out under comparative conditions. A comparison between Germany and the USA especially points out similarities which illustrate that the 1970s and 1980s were not only characterized by “malaise” and “risk”, but that the period after the Boom marked a new era of sportiness.