Body & Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer

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Oxford University Press, 2006 - Social Science - 274 pages
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When French sociologist Loic Wacquant signed up at a boxing gym in a black neighborhood of Chicago's South Side, he had never contemplated getting close to a ring, let alone climbing into it. Yet for three years he immersed himself among local fighters, amateur and professional. He learned theSweet science of bruising, participating in all phases of the pugilist's strenuous preparation, from shadow-boxing drills to sparring to fighting in the Golden Gloves tournament. In this experimental ethnography of incandescent intensity, the scholar-turned-boxer dissects the making of prizefightersand supplies a model for a "carnal sociology" capable of capturing "the taste and ache of action." Body and Soul marries the analytic rigor of the sociologist with the stylistic grace of the novelist to offer a compelling portrait of a bodily craft and of life and labor in the black American ghetto at century's end, but also a revealing tale of self transformation and social transcendence. And,by fleshing out Pierre Bourdieu's signal concept of habitus, it deepens our theoretical grasp of human practice.

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About the author (2006)


Loic Wacquant is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Researcher at the Centre de sociologie europeenne, Paris. A MacArthur Foundation Fellow, he is the author of numerous works on urban marginality, ethnoracial domination, the penal state, and social theory, translated in some dozen languages. He is a co-founder and editor of the interdisciplinary journal Ethnography.

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