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Periodization refers to the categorization of the past into discrete, quantified blocks of time with a name. Periodization helps make study of history and its analysis thereof easier to comprehend. Periodization produces convenient terms for time with stable characteristics. Nevertheless, it is difficult to be precise with the beginning and ending of particular periods. All systems of periodization are arbitrary. However, without periods, past time would be scattered and imprecise. There would be no proper framework to help geographers and historians in understanding periods.
Periodization helps people understand urbanization of Europe in a great way. In his book Streetlife: The Untold History of Europe’s Twentieth Century, Leif Jerram illustrates how street life began in Europe. He mentions that man began to settle down and farm 10,000 years ago. The author states that people started to move to cities in 1830 beginning with Britain and Belgium. This movement later became a major contributor to growth of cities. The writer gives a chronological transformation of Europe and provides specific dates on when these events were happening.
Periodization helps determine the exact dates when something started happening thus giving history a factual perspective that makes it easier to read and understand. Leif says that the scale and rate of change was enormous starting with Britain. It is mentioned in his book that a such city as Manchester was already a modest provincial town in 1800. In this period, its population was about 75000 people. By 1900, the town had grown to house a population of 2,117,000. On the other hand, Birmingham had grown from a population of 71000 people in 1800 to 1,483,000 people in 1900. In this context, Leif does not only shows the historical figures of population in the cities but also provides readers with the times when the population stood at these figures.
Leif helps see the transformation and growth by comparing different time periods. For instance, it is evident that there is an expoential growth in population in just 100 years. Therefore, it is possible to calculate the rate of growth between 1800 and 1900. This helps historians and geographers have the mental image of how growth in these cities happened. It is also possible to compare the cities between these time frames and predict what would happen 100 years from now.
Leif says that there was a transformation in everyday life between 1890 and 1970. The transformation touched many aspects of Europe such as politics, lives of women, sexual identities, people’s assumptions and their perspectives. In addition, Leif talks about politics in the cities between 1890 and 1900. During this time, progressive parties of the twentieth century were formed. This helps readers understand that the growth of cities was not just in physical terms and population-wise. People also started having different political ideologies during this time.
Periodization also helps identify the roles of women in Europe during the period of urbanization. Leif emphasizes that women were not concerned with things that enhance the status of a woman in the today’s world such as university education, occupying senior positions in leadership in private sector and government. In fact, women took part in campaigns to prevent other women from going to university and taking high profile jobs. However, for the first time during this period, factories brought women together in dynamic ways. This ended in conflict between working class men and women, which was the characteristic of the century. In such a way, periodization helps see and understand the changing position of women in the society. It can be noted that over at the start of World War 1, many women were happy to remain at home. The rights of women were also unstable during this time. Women were humiliated for having shaven heads in Paris. Some were raped in the presence of hundreds of thousands in Berlin, Warsaw and Budapest. These events took place between 1945 and 1946. Raping of women in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s also underscores this development.
The great Cultural Revolution in Europe also impacted the field of sport. Football was a popular sport during this time. However, sport was rarely played in Europe until the late 1880s. People also did not watch the sport. Most sports such as cricket were a preserve of rich people. It required whole days to be set aside for people to watch. In the late 1880s, temporal requirements for football were established. Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Club went professional and started paying in 1892. Rules of football were also formulated in the 1860s. Elite private schools started putting more emphasis on sports. Sports were seen as a critical ingredient in character formation. In the 1840s-1850s, this “character formation” could be more or less compared to battle grounds.
Passing was rare in football. In the period between 1880s and 1890s, passing evolved. Working class men mastered the game in the mid-1880s. Football became popular in primary and secondary schools, and as these players left university later to work across Britain, they encouraged playing of football at the Sunday schools where they were patrons. As the Sunday school boys grew up, they popularized the game amongst working-class men.
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In the 1890s, the virtuoso one-on-one dribbling English game merged with the Scottish passing game and produced something similar to the modern football. In this period, goalkeepers and defences were formalized as norms. Hacking and other violent traditions in football were outlawed. From 1900 to 1910, football started to be the sports that we know today. It was played in almost every major city in Europe and Latin America. In addition, by 1900, stadia were being constructed in Britain at Crystal Palace in London and throughout the northern industrial cities. By 1920s, stadia were being constructed in other European cities for purposes of playing football. Building of stadia transformed football into an entertainment business from a participatory event. In Moscow, football was played on fenced off fields to keep spectators from entering.