Body and Soul
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Body and Soul : Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer

By (author) Loic Wacquant

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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 the Sweet 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 prizefighters and supplies a model for a "carnal sociology" capable of capturing "the taste and ache of action." Body & 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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  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 137.2 x 208.3 x 20.3mm | 317.52g
  • 17 Feb 2007
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York
  • English
  • numerous halftones
  • 0195305620
  • 9780195305623
  • 88,714

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Author Information

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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Review quote

"[R]eveals a remarkable ethnographic and theatrical eye...a model account of a personal, embodied sociology..."- American Journal of Sociology "Body & Soul not only sets a new standard for scholarly research and writing on sport. It is a virtuoso performance that could-if properly read and disseminated and emulated-put the study of sport at the center of all sociological theorizing and analysis."-Social Forces "[A] sociological tour de force...sure to be widely used as an exemplar of how to conduct participant observation research... It is packed with fruitful conceptual and theoretical discussions."-Qualitative Sociology "A fresh and authoritative treatment."-The Ring: The Bible of Boxing "Body & Soul will pull you into the deep rhythms of boxing and should certainly earn a place in the canon of literature in the ring."-Los Angeles Times

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