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

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Price: $18.50

Paperback 288 pp.
40 halftones, 208 mm x 137 mm



Publication date:
November 2006

Imprint: OUP US

Share on Facebook

Add to Favourites Tell a Friend

Body & Soul

Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer

Loïc Wacquant

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 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.


  • "[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

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

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

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.

There are no related titles available at this time.

Please check back for the special features of this book.