We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Body & Soul

Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer

Loïc Wacquant

Publication Date - November 2006

ISBN: 9780195305623

288 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $25.95

"[R]eveals a remarkable ethnographic and theatrical eye...a model account of a personal, embodied sociology..."-- American Journal of Sociology


When French sociologist Loïc 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 fleshes out Pierre Bourdieu's signal concept of habitus, deepening our theoretical grasp of human practice. And he 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.

About the Author(s)

Loïc Wacquant is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Researcher at the Centre de sociologie européenne, 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.


"[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

"...a provocative, exhilarating, maddening, and profoundly idiosyncratic effort." --Contemporary Sociology

"Loic Wacquant's Body and Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer is perhaps the best yet sociology of the body---its theorizing is less explicit than is the acuteness of the observations." --Contemporary Sociology

Table of Contents

    The Taste and Ache of Action
    Preface to the U.S. Edition
    The Street and the Ring
    An Island of Order and Virtue
    "The Boys Who Beat the Street"
    A Scientifically Savage Practice
    The Social Logic of Sparring
    An Implicit and Collective Pedagogy
    Managing Bodily Capital
    Fight Night at Studio 104
    "You Scared I Might Mess Up 'Cause You Done Messed Up"
    Weigh-in at the Illinois State Building
    An Anxious Afternoon
    Welcome to Studio 104
    Pitiful Preliminaries
    Strong Beats Hannah by TKO in the Fourth
    Make Way for the Exotic Dancers
    "You Stop Two More Guys and I'll Stop Drinkin'"
    "Busy" Louie at the Golden Gloves
    List of Illustrations
    A Note on Acknowledgments and Transcription

Related Titles