The first hygienic gyms: Spaces to heal and correct the body

Miguel Vicente-Pedraz, Xavier Torrebadella-Flix

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    © 2019 CSIC Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas. All rights reserved. The first hygienic gymnasiums, founded in the eighteen sixties, were an effective support for a body culture that, particularly in Catalonia, began to offer eloquent signs of social differentiation among members of the bourgeoisie. The ideological and cultural reciprocities maintained by gym users served as a basis for the propagation of emerging practices and discourses, both hygienic and therapeutic, as well as self-control and recreation, which, based on physical exercise, would become an important device for the affirmation of class. Through a documentary comparison, a socio-critical analysis of the venue and use of gyms is undertaken. It is concluded that the activity of nineteenth-century gymnasiums, especially those in Barcelona, gave rise to an embryonic privative physical culture that operated as a platform for the socialisation and moralisation of the bourgeoisie.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere011
    JournalRevista de Dialectologia y Tradiciones Populares
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


    • Barcelona
    • Body culture
    • Gymnasium
    • Gymnastic
    • Masculinity
    • Social identity


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