Boxing, Bourdieu and Butler: repetitions of change

Crews, Sarah and Lennox, Solomon (2020) Boxing, Bourdieu and Butler: repetitions of change. Studies in Theatre and Performance, 40 (2). pp. 145-161. ISSN 1468-2761

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The authors of this paper engage in academic sparring. Sparring is a process, a training, and a dialogue. This paper brings into dialogue the boxing bodies and autoethnographic experiences of the authors alongside the theoretical work of Pierre Bourdieu and Judith Butler. By applying a feminist reading to Bourdieu’s concepts of capital and habitus, the authors explore how the repetitive nature of boxing training can promote change. The paper considers boxing training as a transcendental identity project where individual labour is invested in order to affect change in symbolic capital. The repetitive nature of training leads to a habitus split, or habitus clivé. This split causes the boxer to renegotiate concepts of self as they engage with their own and other socially qualified and gendered bodies. This split exposes the freedoms and limitations of identity work as the boxers develop new habitus with and through their bodies (hexis). The authors argue that a reading of the performance of boxing bodies demonstrates the complex relationship between change, freedom, and restriction. Boxing is a physical culture supported by pervasive, hegemonic narratives which focus on the demonstration and development of respect and discipline. This paper explores the extent to which the repetitive nature of boxing training can be considered transgressive or resistant.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Boxing, ethnography, Bourdieu, Butler, feminism, habitus, gender, repetition
Subjects: L300 Sociology
W400 Drama
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Arts
Depositing User: Solomon Lennox
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2019 09:30
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 14:52

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