Annotated bibliography, 7 sources 2000 words, APA format. Follow instructions keenly

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word count : 2000 words

Number of readings: 7 SOURCES

APA style citation

please make sure to answer the following questions thought in intro

a) what you intend to do for this apprenticeship study - with whom, and where, over what period of time,

b) the reasons for your choice of apprenticeship

c) the research methods and concepts you intend to use, the literature you will draw on to frame your study

d) what you expect to find out by conducting your study


I have not attached all the readings as soon as i assign i will attach them

Use APA format

No plagiarism, no grammar typos

Excellent English and flow of ideas

Make sure you follow the instructions i have attached above very keenly

The paper should be 2000 words

Thank you

COURSE PROJECT: APPRENTICESHIP AND EMBODIED LEARNING. FIRST DRAFT, WORTH 10% DUE BEFORE 11:55 PM JANUARY 4 COURSE PROJECT: APPRENTICESHIP AND EMBODIED LEARNING. DRAFT DUE BEFORE 11:55 PM JANUARY 4 For this project you have two choices: Choice 1- Undertake your own apprenticeship Undertake an apprenticeship that involves you as a novice and at least one other person as a skilled practitioner. This can be something seemingly simple. For example, f you have avoided acquiring domestic skills you might apprentice to a close relative to learn how to cook, do laundry, change diapers etc. Or, you could take a formal, organized class, such as a cooking class or a pottery class. You could take on something more physically challenging- learn ballroom dancing, take tennis instructions or, like Wacquant, learn a martial art. What ever you decide to apprentice in, you must pay attention not just to what people say and do. As Wacqaunt tells us, the reasons behind any individual’s conduct are not simply “…“out there” in the form of publicly available symbols” and observable practices. The reasons can also be found “… “in here” , in the invisible schematic of cognition, cathexis, and action through which they probe and construct the world around them”. For this project, undertake an apprenticeship, and write a paper of 3,500-4,000 words in which you provide: a. b. c. some background for your apprenticeship study- what you did, with whom, for how long, in what context, the reasons for your choice a discussion of apprenticeship as a research method and discussion of the concepts you’ve used - derived from assigned readings on carnal sociology, habitus, enactive ethnography, apprenticeship as method and any other sources you find relevant a description and analysis of your experiences in performing the phenomenon you apprenticed in from “out there” and “in here” perspectives. The Draft must include: a) what you intend to do for this apprenticeship study - with whom, and where, over what period of time, b) the reasons for your choice of apprenticeship c) the research methods and concepts you intend to use, the literature you will draw on to frame your study d) what you expect to find out by conducting your study Exact word length of your draft proposal will be up to you.
Regents of the University of California Taking Bourdieu Into the Field Author(s): Loïc Wacquant and Ivan Deyanov Source: Berkeley Journal of Sociology, Vol. 46, RACE & ETHNICITY: in a global context (2002), pp. 180-186 Published by: Regents of the University of California Stable URL: Accessed: 11-08-2018 16:53 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at Regents of the University of California is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Berkeley Journal of Sociology This content downloaded from on Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:53:54 UTC All use subject to 1 80 BERKELEY JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY Taking Bourdieu Into the Field" Loïc Wacquant At the outset of our dialogue, I want to ask you Pierre Bourdieu - not your seminar meeting in winter of 1987 which led you to write An Invitat Sociology together (Bourdieu and Wacquant 1992), b you came face-to-face with him. If you will forgive th the 'ontological complicity9 between the 'history e and the 'history objectivized' in his writings take pl It is a joke that I like because it captures somethin the process of knowledge sharing and intellectual prod elaborated by one thinker can come to live and evol activities, and works of many others around and after well with Marx and especially with Durkheim and the Année sociologique in the classical era, and we are w with Bourdieu, who has spawned not disciples (soci religion, and its innovative figures leaders of sects, as s believe) but collaborators and co-workers in the projec reflexive science of society, all across the world. I met Pierre Bourdieu by chance, in November of time, I was a first-year student in industrial economic hautes études commerciales (HEC), France's top busi disappointed and bored by my studies and groping abo intellectually engaging. A friend of mine took me to a was giving on "Questions of Politics" at the Ecole po Paris, on the occasion of the publication oî Le Sens pra read The Inheritors (Bourdieu and Passeron 1979) at th only the vaguest notion of who Bourdieu was and wha was impressed and intrigued by that talk, even as I did half of it, frankly! I understood just enough to sense novel and important was being said which deserved to So I hung about with a group of students who cornere close of the event. We went to a nearby cafeteria an discussion of the upcoming elections - this was a few presidential contest that brought Mitterrand and the power in May of 1981. There, till four the next m proceed to dissect French politics and society with * This text is excerpted from a dialogue with Ivan Deyanov publi (Sofia, Bulgaria), Spring 2001. This content downloaded from on Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:53:54 UTC All use subject to WACQUANT: INTO THE FIELD 1 8 1 cutting the social system open and displaying its inna never imaged possible. I was instantly taken: I though sociology is about, that's what I want to do." So I took up sociology at the University of Paris, with my training in economics, and a year later, when inaugural address at the Collège de France (Bourdie hear and congratulate him. He encouraged me to atten I found myself skipping classes at HEC to go and listen the College. And I developed the habit of waiting questions and more questions. Out of this pattern harassment' grew an exchange that evolved over th while I was doing research in New Caledonia that late full-fledged collaboration when we rejoined in Chicag book An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Could you tell us more about the strategy you fo book, in particular your use of a "linear technique render Bourdieu's characteristic "recursive and sp thinking'9 (as you put it yourself)? How did t questioning influence his strategy of answering? You must realize that the central part of the boo 'interview' in appearance only: in reality, it was fully written out, directly in English, as a text, and a text in nearly three years of work - but we could not call it on the theory of practice' without risking being misco from the workshop on Bourdieu's thought I had orga graduate students at the University of Chicago the d order to produce an accessible yet systematic explicatio show internal linkages between his various investigatio queries and respond to recurrent objections. The g reader unfamiliar with his oeuvre to gain access to it thematic core without being sidetracked, hampered, de-sac by the common misreadings and misunderstan stereotypes about that work (such as the widespread Bourdieu is a proponent of 'reproduction theory'). For the middle section of the book, disguised Workshop', we worked by assembling questions an step, rewriting both back and forth across the Atlant telephone (this is before the era of e-mail and the outward from the main conceptual nodes, reflexivity field, symbolic domination, doxa, the mission of inte striving in each case to situate Bourdieu dynami possible positions, to better clarify his distinctive met This content downloaded from on Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:53:54 UTC All use subject to 1 82 BERKELEY JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY relation to rival approaches and critics - for instanc to distinguish clearly his dispositional theory of ac teleology of rational choice theory and the ethnoce of utilitarianism: for Bourdieu, action is oriente aiming at a goal and the springs that motivate material interest. The main challenge was to try and 'linearize' indeed recursive and spiraling without disfiguring along intersecting but separable vectors while re articulations. If Bourdieu' s mode of argument ramifying, if his key concepts are relational (habit are all constituted of 'bundles' of social ties in embodied, objectified, institutionalized, and th powerfully in relation to each other), it is because made that way, according to him. So we wanted to connectivity of social reality and sociologi disentangling both enough to enable readers and us capture the kernel of Bourdieu' s social ontology, m theories. The fact that An Invitation is now translated in seventeen languages and is considered the standard entryway into Bourdieu in many countries suggest that we were not entirely unsuccessful. . . You recently published a book in France Body and Soul: Ethnographic Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer (Wacquant 2000, forthcoming in English with University of California Press) which reports on three-and-a-half years of intensive fieldwork carried out in a black gym in the ghetto of Chicago. You told me that it applies and develops the theory of habitus. Could you elaborate on this experiment in taking Bourdieu into the field and on how it illuminates the problematics of practical logics? Body & Soul is an anthropological account of prizefighting as a bodily craft in the black American ghetto, based on intensive immersion and 'observant participation' during which I became part of the phenomenon in order to parse it. It recounts my tribulations in and around the ring as an apprentice of the trade (including my fight at the Chicago Golden Gloves) and mixes sociology, ethnography and literary narrative, text and pictures, 'cool' analysis and 'hot' experience, to take the reader into the workaday world of run-of-the-mill boxers and recapitulate in vivid color the manufacturing of their distinctive 'body- mind complex' - to use an expression of William James that suggests an affinity between pragmatism and Bourdieu' s conception of action. So it is a study of the social production of the pugilistic habitus as a particular set of dispositions assembled collectively via a silent This content downloaded from on Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:53:54 UTC All use subject to WACQUANT: INTO THE FIELD 1 83 pedagogy that transforms the totality of the bei extracting him from the profane realm and distinctive sensual, moral, and practical cosmo remake himself and achieve (masculine) honor by the ascetic rules of his craft. It is an empirical radi of habitus in that it shows in quasi-experimental f a set of socially constituted desires, drives, a cognitive, emotive, aesthetic and ethical, is f operates concretely. Let me cite a passage f summarizes what I tried to demonstrate and indicates what boxers can teach us about all social agents: One could, through a Heideggerian play on words, say that dis-position is ex-position. It is because the body is (at different degrees) exposed, put into play, into danger in the world, confronted with the risk of emotion, hurt, suffering, sometimes death, and thus obliged to take the world seriously (and nothing is more serious than emotion, which touches on the innermost depth of our organic dispositions), that it can acquire dispositions which are themselves opening to the world, that is, to the very structures of the social world of which they are the embodied form (1997a: 168). Body & Soul also takes seriously Bourdieu's admonition that the most fundamental and distinctive competencies that we have as social beings are embodied knowledges and skills that operate beneath the level of discourse and consciousness, in an incarnate sense arising out of the mutual interpénétration of being and world. If it is true that our 'presence-in-the- world' operates via what he calls 'bodily knowledge' (most cogently in the chapter of Pascalian Meditations by that title, Bourdieu 1997a: chapter 4), then it follows that to penetrate a given universe as social analysts, we must gain knowledge of that universe through our bodies: we must acquire, and then probe and problematize, the practical categories, sensitivities, and abilities that natives have evolved in and for practice. We must elucidate 'illusio as this manner of being in the world' that arises from being of that particular world (Bourdieu 1997a: 162). We must, in short, do not only a sociology of the body - animal creatures as social constructs - but also a sociology from the body - the socialized and sensuous organism as social constructor - that foregrounds the kinetic mastery of the world that makes recognized members of a given universe what and who they are. At yet another level, Body & Soul is an implementation of reflexivity as a research requirement and epistemic strategy, and it demonstrates by display one of the central arguments of An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology: that the purpose and touchstone of good social theory is to help us produce new objects, detect dimensions and dissect mechanisms of the social world that we otherwise would not be able to grasp. There are two ways of conceiving and using social theory, one is a This content downloaded from on Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:53:54 UTC All use subject to 1 84 BERKELEY JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY scholastic mode in which we 'split, polish and paraphrase C. Wright Mills's (1958) critique of Sociological Imagination, that is, produce theor end in themselves, for ritual display and wor generative mode, wherein we develop theory to pu research and to prove and expand its heuristic confrontation with sociohistorical reality. I hope t an engaging exemplification ofthat second concep implies that the theory is less conspicuous and m through a close reading of the observations it gui sometimes hides). Precisely, our choice of practical logics as the dedicated to Bourdieu not only recognizes that topic for inquiry; it is also meant to underline its arrested development, the fact that it remains, for the time being, an unfulfilled promise. Would you not agree that, although Bourdieu has proposed a theory of the non-coincidence of theory and practice and even states explicitly that the problem of a logic that can be grasped only in action finds "its solution solely in a theory of theoretical logic and of practical logic" (Bourdieu 1980: 155), he seems reluctant to develop the theory of practical logics as such? Is this reluctance not due to the fact that, as far as he thinks it possible, he would think of it as an algebra (see Bourdieu 1976: 73; also Bourdieu 1980: 435)? In my view, Bourdieu' s focus on and elaboration of the specific logic of practice and everything that distinguishes it from the iogic of logic' is arguably his greatest discovery and contribution to social theory. We have barely begun to realize its importance and it will take years of work in a variety of disciplines, from philosophy to linguistics to aesthetics to sociology, to draw out all of its implications (see Wacquant 1998) Now, this is a thorny problem to which Bourdieu suggests two possible resolutions. In the 'soft' version, he proposes that there exists a hiatus between the immanent logic of practice, which is temporally embedded, spatially situated, ad hoc, fuzzy, unconscious of itself, etc., and the logic of scholastic knowledge, which eliminates this built-in wooliness and ambiguity by disembedding action and stripping it of some of its distinctive properties qua action. But this hiatus can be bridged by a conscious effort of theorizing, by a reflexive return upon and analysis of the theoretical posture itself, its social conditions of possibility, and how it impacts research as a practical activity (what questions we ask or fail to ask, what data we construct, what observations we carry out, etc.). This is the Bourdieu of Le Sens This content downloaded from on Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:53:54 UTC All use subject to WACQUANT: INTO THE FIELD 1 85 pratique, for instance when he explicates th analysis of kinship from a set of 'rules' (as w structuralism) to a unfolding sequence of situate the position of groups in social space and th operator' of practice (see Bourdieu 1980 and 19 Masculine Domination (1997b, 1998), who probes of the mechanisms of symbolic violence that are hegemony through an analysis of Kabyle ritual a their structures inform everyday life in their - and In the 'hard' version, which is first expr Bourdieu's (1990, also 1994) piece 'The Scholas surfaces again in parts of Pascalian Meditations ( ambiguous on this count: it also advances the 'sof insurmountable gap between practical kno knowledge, even a antinomy between practic mediate and mutual 'inhabiting' of being and wor with the active forces that make social existence w to capture it through thought, ratiocination, an is not an aporia but an impasse; the hiatus canno again, asserting the hard thesis does not stop ahead in his own analysis of the social condition 'fundamental ambiguity of the scholastic disposi enables us to know the world while mutilating i that we retire from that world and inclines us t other than what it is for itself, as a spectacle manner of a text (as with Clifford Geertz's "thi autotelic workings of a semiotic algebra (as wi called poststructuralism, which is really structu rather than urgent tasks to be practically accomp I think the tension is unresolved and the que will prove fruitful, that is, whether leads to pr Lakatos's sense of the term. This is what, with P christen the Bourdieu wager: that, even thou insuperable contradiction between the logic of p science as a historically dated and situated form are better off doing as if there was not and forgi a science of society. The proof of the theoretical be found in its practical eating. References This content downloaded from on Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:53:54 UTC All use subject to 1 86 BERKELEY JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY Bourdieu, Pierre. 1976. "Le sens pratique." Acte sciences sociales. (February) 1:43-86. Logic of Practice, Cambridge: Polity P ("Lecture on the Lecture," in In Oth Press, 1993, corrected edition). Words, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993, Anthropology Reasons, 5-4 (November), Cambridge: Polity Pres Editions du Seuil {Practical Reasons, C 1998) Cambridge: Polity Press. Prize Lecture." Berkeley Journal of So {Masculine Domination, Cambridge: Poli Bourdieu, Pierre and Jean-Claude Passeron Chicago: The University of Chicago Pre Bourdieu, Pierre and Loïc Wacquant. 199 Sociology. Chicago: The University of C Mills, C. Wright. 1958. The Sociologic Oxford University Press. Wacquant, Loïc. 1998. "The Double-Ed Scholar's Predicament and the Sociolo Journal of Social Theory 2-3 (Spring): 2 Wacquant, Loïc. 2000. Corps et âme. Ca apprenti boxeur. Marseille: Agone, C Soul: Ethnographie Notebooks of an Ap University of California Press, forthcom This content downloaded from on Sat, 11 Aug 2018 16:53:54 UTC All use subject to
C 2005) Qualitative Sociology, Vol. 28, No. 4, Winter 2005 ( DOI: 10.1007/s11133-005-8367-0 Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership1 Loı̈c Wacquant This article responds to the special issue of Qualitative Sociology devoted to the author’s book, Body and Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer (vol. 28, no. 2, summer 2005). Four themes are tackled: the positioning of the inquirer and the question of social acceptance and membership; the dynamics of embodiment(s) and the variable role of race as a structural, interactional, and dispositional property; the functioning of the boxing gym as miniature civilizing and masculinizing machine; apprenticeship as a mode of knowledge transmissioin and technique for social inquiry, the scope of carnal sociology, and the textual work needed to convey the full-color texture and allure of the social world. This leads to clarifying the conceptual, empirical, and rhetorical makeup of Body and Soul in relation to its triple intent: to elucidate the workings of a sociocultural competency residing in prediscursive capacities; to deploy and develop the concept of habitus as operant philosophy of action and methodological guide; and to offer a brief for a sociology not of the body (as social product) but from the body (as social spring and vector of knowledge), exemplifying a way of doing and writing ethnography that takes full epistemic advantage of the visceral nature of social life. KEY WORDS: boxing; embodiment; habitus; membership; apprenticeship; black American ghetto; viscerality; writing; reflexivity; autoethnography; carnal sociology. I am grateful to the contributors to the special issue of Qualitative Sociology devoted to Body and Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer (vol. 28, no. 2, summer 2005) for the seriousness and sincerity which they have engaged my book, and for the varied and vigorous reactions, criticisms, and queries contained in their papers. I shall aim to respond in the same spirit, by explicating my purposes, spelling out and defending my claims when needed, and pointing to some Correspondence should be directed to Loı̈c Wacquant, Department of Sociology, 410 Barrows Hall, University of California, Berkeley, CA, 94720; e-mail: 1 Response to the special issue of Qualitative Sociology on Body and Soul, vol. 28, no. 2, Summer 2005. 445 C 2005 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 0162-0436/05/1200-0445/0  446 Wacquant implications of my incarnate approach to and analysis of pugilism as skilled action. For the sake of clarity, I shall regroup their comments in four thematic clusters and tackle each in seriatim: the positioning of the inquirer and the question of social acceptance and membership, indicating how friendship can be an invaluable resource for fieldwork; the dynamics of embodiment(s) and the variable role of race as a structural, interactional, and dispositional property; the functioning of the boxing gym as miniature civilizing and masculinizing machine and the conundrum of the “missing women”; and, finally, apprenticeship as a mode of knowledge transmission and technique for social inquiry, the scope of carnal sociology, and the textual work needed to convey the full-color texture and allure of the social world. I hope that these responses and elaborations clarify the conceptual, empirical, and rhetorical makeup of Body and Soul (Wacquant 2000/2004, hereafter B&S) in relation to its triple intent: (i) to vivissect the manufacturing of prizefighters in an effort to elucidate the workings of a bodily craft, that is, a sociocultural competency residing in prediscursive capacities that illumines the embodied foundations of all practice; (ii) to deploy and develop the concept of habitus by tracing its layering and fleshing out the imbrication of its sensual, moral, and aesthetic facets; and (iii) to offer a brief for a sociology not of the body (as intelligible social product) but from the body (as intelligent social spring and vector of knowledge), exemplifying a distinctive manner of doing and writing ethnography that recognizes and takes full epistemic advantage of the visceral nature of social life. POSITIONING “BUSY” LOUIE All the contributors remark on the peculiar position and relations I developed as a French novice learning to box in a predominantly black gym located in Chicago’s ghetto. Stoller and Zussman question my claim that my “French nationality provided [me] with a special entry into the social niches of African America” (Stoller 2005, p. 198); both recount personal anecdotes implying that such a notion is deceiving if not deceitful (Zussman [2005, pp. 201, 206] seems to think it is a distinctively French fantasy). This is ultimately an empirical matter; and, in the case at hand, my nationality was clearly a facilitating feature, and on both sides of the investigative equation. It saved my limbs if not my life one muggy afternoon of August 1988, in my third week of training, when a burly young man stopped me as I was coming out of the back of the gym and inquired aggressively about my reasons for being there. An enigmatic and tense interrogation ensued, centering on what a student from the nearby university like me knew “about us black people,” during which his four friends initially sitting on a bench were ambling closer towards me, causing me to worry whether I should try to dash for my car parked on the street or sprint straight to my apartment building three blocks away before their bellicose intentions erupted into physical onslaught. But the threat of imminent Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 447 fracas vanished in a flash when something in my response tipped my would-be assailant to my foreignness. I was asked my nationality. Because my interlocutor had “heard that French people’re nice, ’cuz they got a nice cultural background,” I was let go unharmed on this note: “You lucky you a Frenchman,’ cuz if you be some redneck or some other white dude from over here, you in big trouble man. You don’t come in this neighborhood if you a redneck.” This happy dénouement is but one of many manifestations I received of the well-documented a priori sympathy that France enjoys in the black-American community (for historical reasons mentioned in B&S p. 10).2 As my ringmate Ashante once put it, “French people ain’t crackers, they always had good rapport with blacks, goin’ all d’way back,” by which he meant that a Frenchman is not directly implicated in the bitter black-white dualism that organizes American society and may even have cultural affinities with his community. Thus trainer Eddie was proud to take me to a self-advertised “French bakery” in Hyde Park to check on its authenticity (it was a sham), and he admired the French because “they tend to eat like blacks ’cause you said you eat rabbits and d’whole pig, right, d’inside of the pig too, right? Yeah, well we black people do that too.” Needless to say, it is not a matter of what “the French” really are or do but how they are perceived to be and behave. My gym buddies’ vision of my home country as a Communist society where all youths attend university for free, women instinctively bare their breasts on the beach, and adults never stop fornicating (“The French, they make love all the time: they make love sooo much, that’s why their fighters never win no world titles”) needed not be accurate for it to afford me a measure of goodwill. On the side of the inquirer, being an alien (at multiple levels) in and to the city of Chicago meant that I continually diverged from the expected course of conduct of a white American—starting with going into the ghetto specifically because I had been warned not to set foot “west of Cottage Grove” and “south of 61st Street” under any circumstance by a university official on my first day on campus. The shocking paucity of U.S. researchers who have conducted sustained fieldwork among black Americans after the wave of urban ethnographies of the sixties crested along with the ghetto riots testifies to a distinctive reticence to seek entry into their “niches.” Likewise, it is not by happenstance that the half-dozen white students from the University of Chicago who came to train at the Woodlawn Boys Club for short periods over the three years of my sojourn there were all foreigners.3 2 These include the novel experience of equalitarian treatment by black soldiers during World War I and the “Negrophilia” of the artistic and political avant-guarde of Paris during the interwar decades, which fostered the myth of a “color-blind France” and thence the consolidation of an expatriate community of African-American writers, performers, and academics after mid-century who construed France as their homeland-in-exile (Stovall 1996; Archer-Straw 1999). 3 Zussman’s (2005, p. 201) opening tale of the three naı̈ve young Frenchmen raring to visit Harlem upon landing in New York City, in spite of being warned by their American hosts to not venture in a territory they considered off-limits, further confirms that white Americans and foreigners view the black ghetto through different lenses. And it undercuts the very point Zussman (2005, p. 207) aims 448 Wacquant My Frenchness is not a matter of having enjoyed a “special entry” in the sense of a privileged access to the ghetto forbidden to, say, Euro-American researchers, so much as a propitious prop that often smoothed early communication and oiled personal relations. (White Americans can and do conduct such work, in rare cases, but at the cost of violating a deeply rooted norm of social as well as academic propriety, cf. Bourgois 2000). That my black and white interlocutors alike sensed that I was “racially naı̈ve” in U.S. terms, due to exhibiting the embodied national sense of another society, played to my advantage. It afforded me a modicum of protection4 and a statutory right to cultural ingenuousness making it possible to actively inquire into many taken-for-granted matters—which persistent curiosity, combined with my wearing thin-rimmed, round glasses and my frail physique, also exposed me to being miscategorized as Jewish, as I discovered late while conducting lifestory interviews. Paul Stoller (2005 p. 198) is nonetheless right that the clinching factor in establishing my membership in the local branch of the boxing fraternity was the fact that I subjected myself in full to the rigors of the craft and “paid my dues” in the ring (on which more below). Yet, from a general methodological standpoint, of the four factors that jointly shaped my location and connections in the social space of the gym discussed in the book’s prologue (B&S, pp. 9–11)—nationality, opportunistic entry, surrender to the requirements of the trade, and minimal athletic abilities—what deserves greatest emphasis is the fact that I entered the Woodlawn Boys Club as a runof-the-mill trainee, ostensibly to learn the rudiments of the sport, and not as a sociologist, to subject the club and its denizens to the mystifying gaze of the scholar. Of course I was always a peculiar apprentice, white, highly educated yet culturally green, physically unimpressive, and pugilistically inept at first. One anecdote will suffice to gauge how unprepared I was for my journey among pugs: the first time head-coach DeeDee dispatched me onto the floor to “flash my form” shadow-boxing, I kept my glasses on for the entire session! But the very improbability of my surviving the fistic firing line endeared me to the gym’s regulars who, to a man, had predicted that I would last no more than a few weeks.5 to make by recounting it: only Americans carry the kind of ethical baggage (rooted in historical guilt) that makes them construe going into a poor black neighborhood as a basis upon which to “claim a personal virtuosity, a moral high ground.” 4 Ulf Hannerz (1968, p. 204) reports similar preferential treatment due to his foreignness in the ghetto of Washinton in the 1960s: “In the introductions [to local residents of Winston Street], it was particularly pointed out that I was Swedish, which apparently created a special position for me, clearly separated from other whites; this seemed to be quite useful in that I was not quite so readily assimilated into the perspective of black-white conflict.” I seriously doubt that the fact that Paul Stoller is American and not French was of no pertinence to his Nigerien informants; it must have been when they discussed things French on Niger’s independence day, for instance (as suggested in a structurally similar context by Cole [2001]). 5 During the first few months of my initiation, Ashante, a hard-nosed welterweight who later became my regular sparring partner, used to ask the gym’s old coach at what time “the Frenchie” was coming so that he could arrange to train early, shower, jump back into his clothes, and then sit in the backroom to laugh at “Mister Magoo” for an hour. Ashante revealed this bygone habit to me in Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 449 For nearly a year, I attended the Woodlawn Boys Club and kept a detailed diary on my tribulations in and around the gym without thinking that I would do anything of my notes, other than document a narrow slice of everyday life in a section of the ghetto. It is only after I was sentenced to a period of forced inactivity by a broken nose suffered in sparring in July of 1989 and wrote a long article on pugilism for an issue of Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales on “The Space of Sports” at the urging of Pierre Bourdieu, that I undertook, not only to use the gym as an observation post into the remnants of Bronzeville, but also to make the manufacture of boxers an object of study in itself. When the time came to make my “sociological coming out,” I was terribly nervous and fearful that the club members would think that I had hidden my intention from them and infiltrated their ranks to study them surreptitiously. But my proposal to “write a little history of the gym,” to document its rich inner life in the face of an impending shut-down due to the latest wave of so-called urban renewal, was met with enthusiastic approval quickly followed by utter indifference.6 The revelation of my research interest changed little in my insertion in the club for, by then, the bonds of friendship and trust I had forged day-to-day with the gym’s core circle and my demonstrated commitment to the ethos of the craft overrode all other considerations. For DeeDee and his charges, I continued to be Louie the inquisitive gym member, eager sparring partner, personal pal, and occasional all-around helper; only now I was carrying around a tape recorder and asking even more questions than before. So Hoffman and Fine (2005, p. 157, emphasis added) could not be more wrong when they assert that “it is apparent that his coach and gym mates never forgot that his goal was to depict them for a world in which they were the outsiders.” For it was not my goal for a full year, and by the time it became so, it mattered little. In truth, my Woodlawn colleagues never really cared and rarely remembered that I pursued a research project, for the simple reason that, try as I might, I never succeeded in explaining to them what it is that a sociologist is and does! For lower-class men from Chicago’s South Side robbed of even the pretense of an education by a bankrupt public school system, the world of the written word is a terra incognita. Literate culture—not to mention academic culture—is an alien planet so distant that its geography and the designs of its creatures are simply immaterial. One illustration: my ring comrades could not fathom why I would not fulfil my scholarly duties at Harvey College, a city community college located thirty blocks away on Woodlawn Avenue, instead of Harvard University, which would require my migrating far away and thus leaving the gym, much to our joint chagrin.7 When the question of my real-life occupation came up during my sojourn amused astonishment, about two years into my apprenticeship, after a rough sparring session during which I had caused him as much trouble as he could handle that day. 6 This is a common second-best characterization: Herbert Gans (1967, p. xxxv) described his research among The Levittowners as “a historical study” because he had trouble explaining what sociology is to the well-educated neighbors of his middle-class suburb. 7 When I returned the local boxing scene for a brief foray in the winter of 1995, a black manager who used to hang out at Woodlawn asked if I was “done finished with yo’ school.” Upon learning that 450 Wacquant among Chicago pugs, I was variously introduced as a social worker, psychologist, interpreter, journalist, photographer, student or teacher, even jokingly as a spy (which is not uncommon among fieldworkers in the most varied places, cf. Owens [2003]), but nearly never as a sociologist. And, inside the pugilistic cosmos, such attributions were always trumped by my publicly attested qualities of amateur boxer, sparring partner, cornerman, and gym buddy. Now, I agree with Stoller (2005, p. 197) that the “non-native anthropologist can never transcend difference,” but the record shows that she can, within the microsocial space anchored by the ethnographic encounter, provisionally suspend or significantly attenuate many differences (plural) pertinent to her inquiry in the course of building extended and intimate relations.8 The multiplex rapports that we develop with our key informants are malleable and subject to the same variations and vagaries as ordinary social ties; they range from the instrumental to the affective, from the exploitive to the mutual, from fleeting to lasting, and from shallow to deep (contrast, e.g., Burawoy 1978 with Schwartz 1980, and Behar 1993 with Ortner 2003, for two illustrations of opposites in two different settings and disciplines). They always have a peculiar curving due to their inscription in the research enterprise, but their import is not eo ipso reducible to that single purpose. One does not have to hold an exalted notion of interpersonal fusion or an irenic vision of the family to recognize that long-term field friendships can, under definite circumstances, be transformative of both parties and grow to take on a filial or fraternal/sisterly quality (see Mintz 1989 for a discussion of changing disciplinary views of the epistemic import of such friendships). The fleshly companionship that arises in the course of years of daily training and suffering side-by-side, and especially sparring together—which implies entrusting one’s body to the other, and an other increasingly like oneself—is conducive to developing such carnal connections.9 Nor is it a matter of exclusive and fixed identities: one can be a fictive “brother” and a “white man” sequentially or even simultaneously, to different audiences, for different purposes, and I taught at a university on the West Coast, he exclaimed in genuine awe, his face beaming with a look of deference that made me shrivel in embarrassment: “A Pro-fe-ssor! Man, you done climbed up there, I tell ya. A pro-fe-ssor. Tha’s somethin’ else, Louie.” 8 But does the native anthropologist “transcend difference,” and if so which difference(s) and from whom? Even if she issues from the very social setting and collective she studies, the insider or “halfie” ethnographer still diverges from any given informant on a variety of dimensions (by class, age, education, etc.), as do informants from one another. And she is always at variance with its members in that she necessarily adopts a scholarly posture that is fundamentally at odds with the “natural attitude” of everyday life, to use the language of Alfred Schutz (unless she adopts the carnal approach advocated in Body and Soul, which allows one to mate these two perspectives). 9 Emile Durkheim writes eloquent pages about suffering in unison as the basis of membership in The Elementary Forms of Religious Life ([1912] 1995). At DeeDee’s memorial service, I was asked by his family to walk in the procession with them and to sit in their midst in the funeral house; and I was honored to be among the pall bearers who took him to his last home. I do not mention this to display my “trophies of intimacies” with boxers (to invoke a snide expression of Erving Goffman), but to indicate that deep engagement with one’s subject can lead to a profound recasting of one’s social personality and associations. Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 451 under different circumstances. Which brings us to the vexed topic of race and embodiment. RACE AND EMBODIMENT(S) Let me make clear at the outset that the boxing universe is no “racial paradise.” It would be astounding if an unregulated bodily craft rooted in extreme class inequality, situated near the bottom of the hierarchy of athletic avocations, and whose history in the United States ties it tightly to caste exclusion and subaltern immigration (Sammons 1988; Miller and Wiggins 2003) turned out to be a dreamland of fairness and comity. But one must distinguish between the fabrication of boxers as skilled performers and prizefighting as commercial spectacle and manly fantasy. For one of the paradoxes of the Sweet science is precisely that, while its public consumption remains deeply affected by the politics of racial representation, its production side tends in manifold ways to deracialize bodies and social relations (the same is true of many performing arts, such as song and dance).10 So how exactly does race materialize itself in an ordinary gym such as the Woodlawn Boys Club and how did it affect “Busy” Louie in particular? All the participants in the pugilistic universe—boxers, trainers, managers, promoters, and officials—readily agree that there exists notable differences in the style and temperament of pugs roughly correlated with their community of descent and they tend to read bodies accordingly, to answer Alford Young’s (2005, pp. 182– 183) query. These ethnic types are arranged according to a hierarchy inverse and symmetrical to the order of the corresponding groups in U.S. social space, with black boxers at the top (mating rhythm, movement, and technique), Mexican and Puerto Rican fighters in between (they “come to fight” and display toughness and persistence), and whites at the bottom (defined mostly by the qualities they lack). But these styles are variations on a common score that must not be overemphasized, as a ring veteran from the 1960s put it: “Styles? Yeah they’re different, but every man is the same: every man, when you cut him, the blood is red. You hit him in the jaw, don’t matter what color he is, they’ll go down.” Trainers insist that they can “blacken” a fighter by teaching him technique, footwork, and strategy. And they are largely oblivious to the provenance of their charges (see also Anderson 1992). Old Gene, the black coach in charge of Fuller Park, has tutored AfricanAmerican, Euro-American, and Latin-American boxers and, like virtually all his Chicago colleagues, he stresses similarities over differences: The fundamentals trainin,’ trainin’ hard, one thing an’ listenin,’ an’ have confidence in me, I have confidence in you: if you don’t have confidence in each other, (shaking his head) 10 Read Early (1981) for a perceptive exegesis of the staging of high-level bouts as “symbolic racial showdowns,” and Ward (1998) on the racial disjunctures between the production and the consumption of rhythm and blues in the United States of the postwar decades. 452 Wacquant we not gonna make no connections there, you see? I’ve treated a lotta white kids jus’ like I have black kids, I seen a lotta good white kids in here, you see, same thing. What is true in the gym training applies also to performing in the ring. While in past eras an interracial fight took on special significance—this type of bout was called “a natural” and drew special attention and emotions, from the days of “Papa” Jack Johnson into the 1980s (cf. Roberts 1983 and Bederman 1995)—today’s runof-the-mill professional boxers are largely indifferent as to whether they face a white, black, or Latino opponent. African-American fighters in particular attribute little if any significance to the ethnicity of their opponent and they do not consider themselves the representatives of their community when they step into the squared circle. In the words of my gym comrade Smithie: No, it doesn’t [matter], I’ve learned through competitiveness, that race is used to control weaker men’s minds. When you stand before a man, that man has arms, it doesn’t matter what color that arm is, or that hand is that’s hittin’ you in d’face (chuckles): it’s a hand hittin’ you in d’face. . . . What you center in on is the calliber that you’re fightin’, what calliber fighter that you’re fightin’, okay—not that he’s black or white. It should be noted that my report on the “pronounced color-blindness of pugilistic culture” (B&S, pp. 10–11) is based not merely on how boxers and coaches “discuss” and “describe” their milieu to “an anomalous French academic,” as Hoffman and Fine (2005, p. 156) allege, but on direct observation of how they behaved toward one another in their workshop day-to-day. And I do write pugilistic culture and not economy, for this “show business with blood” that is prizefighting has long been and continues to be tainted by racial preferences, albeit in a considerably attenuated form.11 But such bias in commercialization does not gainsay the relative autonomy of bodily capital from the symbolic capital of “race.” For the boxing club is the fulcrum of a web of corporeal disciplines, forms of sociability, and moral vectors that tend to depress and deflect ethnoracial vision and division as they impress and enforce commitment to the craft and its rules. Young (2005, p. 182) is curious to learn more about “how Wacquant’s Caucasian body [was] read by the members of the gym from the moment when he enter[ed] their world.” The answer is that the forging of the pugilistic habitus entails the gradual effacing of extraneous properties—such as skin tone as the outward indicator of descent—and their supersession by properties of pressing pugilistic import: strength, speed, endurance, hardness, dexterity, resistance to pain, and the ability to punch, slip, parry, etc. This means that, as with every other member of the club, my whiteness receded as I climbed up the gradus of the trade and as my organism absorbed and then displayed its distinctive practical skills and sensibili11 In the 1920s and 30s, black fighters were routinely prevented from fighting their white counterparts or excluded for competing for titles to enforce the prevalent national mythology of the innate inferiority of African Americans (Gilmore 1975). Today white fighters are better protected, promoted, and remunerated even at the local level, owing to their drastic scarcity and wider visual appeal to predominantly white audiences, which make them commercially more valuable (as indicated in “Fight Night as Studio 104,” B&S, p. 188). Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 453 ties. What my gym mates noted after several months of training was that I had lost weight and gained muscle mass and definition; that my nose had toughened and stopped bleeding as I got inured to sparring; that I was able to withstand (and dish out) solid body shots as well as work the double-end bag with efficiency; DeeDee also liked to remark jokingly on my newly discovered “washboard.” While it never wears off entirely, the phenotype of the boxer is blurred and eventually trumped by the fact that his body has turned into a finely-tuned punching engine, a sharp tool, a taut weapon and a glistening armor as well as a living temple for the masculine values of the Sweet science—to recall the images prizefighters commonly invoke to express their sense of possessing and producing skilled organisms fashioned for and by battle between the ropes (Wacquant 1998a). Judith Farquhar (2005, p. 193) asks similarly “to what extent is the body of ‘Busy Louie’ Wacquant comparable to the bodies of Curtis, Ashante,” and other Woodlawn pugs, and she wishes that I “had gone to more trouble to sort out the differences among the bodies at issue.” Obviously no two organisms are alike and one could delve into the potentially infinite variations between fighters on any number of social and pugilistic scales, contrasting them by class trajectory, ethnicity, education, and marital and family status as well as across physical makes, ring styles, career phase, and sporting aspirations. Body and Soul deliberately brackets such differences to focus on similarities in order to capture not diverse embodiments but the process of incarnation whereby the brittle combination of categories, skills, and desires that constitutes the proficient pug is implanted into, and in turn deployed by, boxers in their day-to-day activities. It is relentlessly targeted on the invariant ingredients and stages of the metamorphosis to which all bodies, no matter their origin and characteristics, are susceptible and subjected, to the degree that they are immersed in the specific universe, and submit to its disciplining routines and moral dictates. There are two reasons for this choice. First, the study of commonalities in the making of boxers necessarily precedes the investigation of differences, as one must first establish a common baseline from which the various apprentices diverge. Second, the theoretical agenda of the book is to engage, exemplify, and test empirically the notion of habitus by disclosing in considerable detail how a particular type of habitus is concretely fabricated—how pugilistic understanding, knowledge, and yearning is collectively made into “flesh and blood.”12 This implies that, much as in her classic 1980 essay “Throwing Like A Girl,” Iris Young (2004) seeks to uncover the core properties of female bodily experience and trace the connections between the subordinate place women occupy in the social structure and the distinctive features of their motility and incarnate subjectivity, while leaving aside myriad differences among women, in Body and Soul 12 In the sense elaborated by Drew Leder (1990), who proposes to supplement Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s “horizontal” focus on the visible surface of the lived body (flesh) with a “vertical” dissection of the inner “circuitry of vibrant, pulsing life” lodged in the depths of the visceral body (blood). 454 Wacquant I focus on the generic properties of pugilistic embodiment as such, overlooking dissimilarities among boxers to spotlight the manner whereby they acquire and activate the system of schemata of perception, appreciation, and action characteristic of their craft.13 The transmission and mastery of bodily knowledge through practical osmosis and visual mimesis, the silent pedagogy of enskilled organisms in action, the temporal and moral orchestration of their ballet in the closed confines of the club, the painstaking husbanding of corporeal capital in and around the gym: these are the same for all aspirant boxers, whatever their skin color and their designs on the amateur circuit or in the professional ranks. I point out in Body and Soul that the motives and paths that lead the gym members to the ring vary greatly (B&S, pp. 27–29, 37–38, 50–52, 131–138, 204–207). Yet, once they step through the gates of the club the same powerful dynamic of craft, sensuality, and incarnate morality is at work in transforming and binding them together in a collective locally and provisionally transcending the differences in social position, trajectories, and experiences that they imported into the gym.14 So far as we know, the process whereby social relations and symbols are slowly imprinted into the body in the form of cognitive, emotive, and conative gestalts, or “dispositional representations”—ultimately anchored by specific circuits of synaptic connections (LeDoux 2002)—is the same for all individuals. To put it differently: in keeping with the main thrust of the blossoming anthropology of the body (Lock 1993), Farquhar (2005, p. 196) wishes that I had centered on the organism as socially constructed, arising “from whole worlds of practice” and therefore “shot through with inequalities and dominations.” My primary interest is elsewhere: it is the body as an intelligent and sentient assemblage of shared categories, capacities, and cravings; not only socially constructed, and therefore traversed by vectors of power, but socially constructing; as the fount of communal sense, joint sensation, and skillful action. This is also why, to Dunning’s (2005, p. 175) apparent irritation, I do not “situate Body and Soul in the context, firstly, of the sociology of sport and, secondly, of sport more generally,” because such is not the analytic space within which the inquiry locates itself. My focus is not on the social organization and culture of athletic pursuits but on the twofold process of incorporation of social structures: the collective creation of proficient bodies and the ingenuous unfolding of the socially constituted powers they harbor. Lastly, like every ethnographer engaged in long-term immersion, I came to adopt some of the ways of thinking, feeling, and acting typical of my gym mates, 13 This is also why I do not directly address “the possible conversions of bodily capital” and “the negative consequences associated with participation in boxing” (Krueger and SaintOnge 2005, pp. 187, 189), which I discussed extensively elsewhere (Wacquant 1995a, 1995b, 1998b, 2001), and to which I will return in Passion of the Pugilist in my fuller analysis of the social structure of the pugilistic economy and the social determinants of ring careers. 14 This is what warrants the “breakdown in the comparison between the purposes of the French graduate student with a book to write and the lifelong dilemma of being black and poor faced by everyone else in the book” that “the form of the book accomplishes” (Farquhar 2005, p. 196). Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 455 whether insensibly as a result of marinating in their midst or through explicit instructions. The initial distance between the Woodlawn regulars and “Busy” Louie was thus further reduced (without ever being annulled, as dramatized by DeeDee’s final repartee at the book’s closing) by the fact that (i) I imbibed the local language; (ii) I modified my appearance and demeanor, as when I agreed to let Curtis cut my hair in a “fade” at the gym; (iii) I gained and demonstrated minimal mastery of the rules of street culture, as indicated in this fieldnote: This afternoon, I came in the gym carrying a “hot” sports bag I had just bought off the street from a local hustler peddling stolen merchandise in the vicinity. When I explained to my club mates who had inquired as to its provenance that I had bargained hard, eventually getting the price from 26 dollars down to a mere 6 bucks (for a rather fancy bag probably worth a good 40 dollars in a regular store), there were glowing nods of approval among the coaches in the backroom. At the end of my account, Eddie roared in appreciation: “Tha’s good, Louie. This smart. See, we educate you in d’ways of d’streets. By you comin’ here, we gave you a education in streetlife. Now you know what to do: (louder, for all to hear) Louie got his degree in Streetology, man, Louie’s cool.” Moreover, in the closed context of the ghetto and the gym, what matters most at ground level is people’s doings, how they relate to one another in recurrent interpersonal encounters, rather than how the broader society categorizes and treats them. Because “race,” that is, blackness in America resides in the denial of equal dignity, historically rooted in the generalized dishonor of slavery and perpetuated by the lopsided handling of state institutions (Patterson 1982; Wacquant 2005a), conduct that publicly affirms mutual respect is highly salient. And the boxing gym and its satellites are rife with occasions to manifest such respect. As Charlie, one of the coaches from Woodlawn, put it early in my journey among Chicago pugs: “If you treats me like peoples, I treats you like peoples.” In the daily round of the club, ascriptive and positional traits, such as class, ethnicity, nationality and occupation, proved to be less relevant than interactional properties manifested in repeated face-to-face encounters. Now, “can such a story transcend the firmly entrenched discourse of race and poverty in America?” (Stoller 2005, p. 198). Evidently not, because it does not touch on the structural bases of racial division and domination beyond the gym. The power of the pugilistic melting pot to “deracialize” bodies and relations is both limited and localized; it remains contained with the narrow and brittle purview of pugilistic networks, and it operates with decreasing intensity and efficacy as one moves from the ring proper to the training floor to the back-room and the dressingroom of the club and beyond. Much like romantic fusion or erotic union between a man and a woman may momentarily overcome the dominion of gender without threatening the structures of masculine rule (Weitman 1998; Bourdieu 1998/2001), the manufacturing of pugilists attenuates racialized differences within the specific space and temporality of the gym and its extensions, but it does little to dent the encompassing structures of ethnoracial inequality. 456 Wacquant We can better “restore the stubbornly raced world of urban America to sociological consideration,” as recommended by Farquhar (2005, p. 195), then, if, instead of attributing uniform meaning and potency to blackness (or its antonym, whiteness), we recognize the differential degree and manner in which situations and postures are racial(ized) or not. An analytical distinction between race as a structural, interactional, and dispositional (or embodied) property allows us to realize that the gym, while being located inside a racialized structure, is the site of semi-deracialized interactions anchored by the production and assembly of racially indifferent dispositions. It helps us avoid collapsing the pride of boxing with racial pride, as Farquhar (2005, p. 195) does, for “the nobility of boxing done well” is independent of, although fed by, ethnoracial division and stigma: prizefighting brings membership in an honorific craft, no matter the ethnic provenance of the practitioner. Thus the shift from racial separation in the description of the ghetto to racial mixing inside the gym to “boxing as the operative category of embodiment” (Farquhar 2005, p. 194) is fully warranted by the dynamic observed at ground level. For, in the end, in the tense tussle between interlocking sociocorporeal forces twirling in the pugilistic crucible, boxing remakes race more than race shapes boxing. One last issue on the race front: Robert Zussman’s (2005) fanciful claim that I fancy myself as a “Black Frenchman,” that I put forth my miraculous racial mutation as a “warrant” for writing about “poor American blacks,” and that the purpose of my monograph is precisely to exhibit this supposed warrant.15 Aside from the mystifying silliness of writing a book intended to demonstrate that one is founded to write it, this claim is doubly absurd and it would not deserve a response beyond mirth, if it were not also revealing of the power of ordinary racial prenotions and professional status preoccupations in American academe to warp serious scientific discussion. Zussman’s reading of Body and Soul is evidently “colored” by his whiteness and his anger at my sacrilegious assessment of the Chicago tradition of urban ethnography to which he is beholden. He is so intent on turning my critique of the field studies of race and poverty that I dissect in “Scrutinizing the Street” (Wacquant 2002) onto my own work in order to disqualify it, and with it my critique of moral empiricism, that he must insist that my ethnography of prizefighting is comparable to these studies, when it diverges profoundly from them in object, method, scope, and style.16 Repainting the Woodlawn Boys Club 15 As basis for this bizarre claim, Zussman adduces the fact that one of my gym nicknames was “the Black Frenchman.” The nickname is mentioned last in a list of five monikers I earned during my stint among boxers (B&S, p. 11) and never appears again in the entire book—as befits an amusing aside. 16 I have responded elsewhere to slanted critiques of Body and Soul that are aimed in reality at “Scrutinizing the Street” (see my contribution to the symposium organized by Symbolic Interaction, vol. 38, no. 3, Fall 2005; Wacquant 2005b). Let me just note here, with regard to Zussman’s (2005, p. 202, pp. 202–203, p. 203) variant of it, that (1) I do not “dichotomiz[e] the ring and the streets around it” but highlight their double-sided relation of symbiotic opposition; (2) documenting and displaying sentiments felt in the field, by the participants as well as the observer, is not the same Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 457 as “an all-black gym” for purposes of his polemic (that the gym had both Latino and white members is plain from the text, not to mention the picture on the book’s front cover!), Zussman (2005, pp. 201, 205) maintains that I should be writing about race (as he would have as a white American) and complains loudly that I remain “curiously silent” on the topic outside of “a few rhetorical flourishes.” He then establishes artificial parallels between my monograph and the three books discussed in “Scrutinizing the Street” so that he may hoist me by my own evaluative petard. His professional bile blinds him to the fact that there exists no relationship of logical implication between the flaws of my own ethnography and the validity of my evaluation of the works of others: even if it were true that “Wacquant commits nearly every analytic sin of which he accuses others” (Zussman 2005, p. 202), that does not make my so-called “accusations” inaccurate, nor the “sins” in question any less troubling. Indeed, the allegation that I succumb to the same failings as I discern in others might, if anything, indicate that these are indeed serious threats to the practicing ethnographer. The corrective to Zussman’s delusional interpretation is provided by all eight reviews of Body and Soul that precede his, but especially by Alford Young (2005, p. 181, emphasis supplied) when he writes that “the move that Wacquant makes in putting his body into the analysis is both critical and effective in that he does not aspire to be exactly like the men that he studies—indeed he makes explicit throughout his book how much he could not be.” Far from documenting my alchemical attainment of some mystical blackness, the closing lines of Body and Soul (B&S, 255) stress stubborn difference within similarity: DeeDee’s sage verdict is that, unlike his gym comrades, “Busy” Louie has no need to press further in his pugilistic trek. They “demonstrate the extent to which [this author] is in, but not all the way in, as a participant in the community of boxers” (Young 2005, p. 181). But there is one last twist: sensing the absurdity of his argument, Zussman (2005, p. 205) shifts target and contends that his ultimate “interest is less in whether Wacquant’s claim is true than in whether it is necessary.” Here we might well agree on the methodological superfluity and epistemological fatuity of anyone’s claim to strict insider status as a basis for making knowledge claims in the social sciences. Had I achieved such stupendous feat of biosocial magic (or ethnic self-delusion) as Zussman credits me with, that would provide no “warrant” for my ethnographic report. For membership in a category or collective does not by itself make one a good anthropologist of it.17 At best it might make one an informant as infusing sociological analysis with “sentimentalism”; (3) there is no need to bring in “social movements, politics, and the state” to capture the forging of pugilistic competency as cultivated sensorimotor intentionality inside the gym; (4) unlike the books appraised in “Scrutinizing the Street,” Body and Soul is not aimed at a policy audience and makes no grand macrosociological claim, nor does it address the hoary topic of “racism” and still less proffers remedies for urban marginality. I nonetheless agree with Zussman’s (2005, p. 203) candid summation of his own arguments: “They are all, of course, cheap shots.” 17 Surprisingly, Zussman’s argument is not backed up by an appeal to standpoint epistemology. It is a coarse retread of the U.S. debate over the privilege of “insider knowledge” about the black social 458 Wacquant about it; at worst, it invites a descent into moral subjectivism, a parroting of the folk sociology of members, that is the negation of rigorous ethnography—and one of the perennial pitfalls of U.S. urban field studies that I spotlight in “Scrutinizing the Street” (Wacquant 2002, pp. 1488–1489, 1500–1501, 1520–1524). The warrant to study prizefighters, as any other social world, and by whatever method, comes not from the social ties that the inquirer entertains with members of that microcosm but from the theoretical problematic that animates the inquiry. THE GYM AS CIVILIZING AND MASCULINIZING MACHINE Hoffman and Fine (2005, p. 153) contend that I exaggerate the closure of the gym and unduly “generalize from a single case.” This is doubly incorrect. First, it is they who overstate the degree to which I rely on “the perspective of [my] key informant and trainer, the moral exemplar DeeDee.”18 I draw on a multiplicity of sources whose views I could crosscheck against one another and, more importantly, verify de visu thanks to my long-term immersion. For instance, my depiction of the “institutional organization of low-level amateur and professional boxing” relies not on DeeDee’s outlook but on direct observation carried out at three successive installments of the Golden Gloves tournament, two dozen amateur shows, and fifteen professional “cards.” It is backed up by in-depth interviews with all fifty professional boxers active in Chicagoland in the summer of 1991, a dozen trainers and officials from the Illinois Amateur Boxing Federation and Board of Professional Regulation, and the gamut of protagonists in the fistic commerce, from promoters and managers on down to the “card girls,” not to mention countless incidental gym conversations on the ins-and-outs of public performance.19 In the fall of 1991, I also trained at the two other “pro” gyms of the city at the time, Fuller Park (a mid-sized municipal facility not far from the infamous Robert Taylor Homes housing project on the South Side) and Windy City (a large private club located in a busy industrial section of the city’s West condition that emerged in the wake of the racial upheavals of the sixties, a controversy that was resolved three decades ago (Merton 1972). 18 A personal note: DeeDee was no “moral exemplar,” nor was he “bitter or jaded,” as Hoffman and Fine (2005, p. 153) assert, on the contrary. He was well aware of and open about his personal flaws, such as his edginess and his smoking, both of which contravened his teachings. And he followed a quasiSpinozist philosophy of life remarkably well-suited to the penury, unpredictability, and harshness of his profession and social surroundings (as detectible in the conversations recorded before and after Curtis’s fight at Studio 104, B&S, pp. 154–156, 228–232) that led him to accept the things he could not control while punctiliously monitoring those factors that fell within his province of influence (such as the conduct of his charges in and around the gym). 19 If there was one “key informant” on the boxing economy, it is the matchmaker who ruled the metropolitan boxing market at the time (B&S, pp. 198–201), whom I both observed first-hand in gyms and at shows and whom I interviewed four times in a private setting for a total of ten hours towards the end of my sojourn. By then, because I knew and had also interviewed many of the fighters, trainers, and managers to whom he referred in his accounts, I could triangulate his views with those of the other central characters on the scene (see Wacquant 1998b for details). Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 459 Side), with sufficient assiduity to cause DeeDee to become openly irritated by my apparent infidelity to Woodlawn. And I hung out at Sheridan Park long enough to find out at ground-level what set this small cagey gym ensconced in Chicago’s Little Italy apart from its peers. Second and relatedly, I construct the Woodlawn Boys Club as a “particular case of the possible,” to recall Gaston Bachelard’s expression, by spotlighting the variables that ascribe it a definite place in the universe of gyms (B&S, p. 9, pp. 19–24): namely, its location in a desolate and dangerous area, the occupational authority and stern personality of a nationally renowned coach, and its correlative ability to recruit members from the entire metropolis (and beyond: Smithie drove in daily from Gary, in nearby Indiana) with a view towards competing in the professional ranks. Hoffman’s (2004) dissent here likely arises from the fact that he studied amateur clubs located in less regimented Park District facilities, run by less seasoned trainers, and populated with younger trainees coming from the immediate vicinity mainly for recreational purposes, all factors that tend to lower the barrier between the gym and the street and facilitate the incursion of neighborhood-based hierarchies and concerns into the pugilistic cosmos. Yet, as “forcing houses for changing the self” (Goffman 1961, p. 12), all boxing gyms are organized so as to unmoor their members from their mundane attachments and to foster collective cloistering.20 In order to fulfill its mission, that is, not only to impart pugilistic technique but also, and more crucially, to transmit the collective mystique and instill the embodied ethics of the craft, the gym must close itself to outside forces and submerge its members in its specific rules and requirements. In so doing, it acts to reshape and rescale to the greatest possible degree the range of capacities and sensibilities of its denizens. In this respect, Eric Dunning (2005, p. 175) is right to point to the congruence of my portrayal of the Woodlawn Boys Club as a foundry of mindful martial bodies with Norbert Elias’s classic macro-analysis of the “civilizing process.” Indeed, elsewhere I have described the gym as a small-scale civilizing machine in Elias’s sense of the term: it simultaneously imposes strict taboos on certain forms of violence, lowers one’s threshold of acceptance of disorderly behavior, and promotes the internalization of controls and obedience to authority. So that immersion in the “personal community” formed by the gym membership and broader boxing fraternity tends to reduce that “lust for attacking” which prizefighting appears to exemplify and thrive on. (Wacquant 1995a, p. 499)21 20 This is readily apparent from studies of boxing gyms conducted in such diverse countries as Sweden, France, and Australia (Øygarden 2001; Beauchez 2002; Lafferty and MacKay 2004). One gets a strong visual sense of the overwhelming invariance of boxing clubs in the deft photographic portrait of one hundred gyms in North America by Lommasson (2005). 21 In that essay, I cite both Elias’s The Civilizing Process and Elias and Dunning’s own Quest for Excitment: Leisure and Sport in the Civilizing Process. I did not refer to these two books in Body and Soul because they focus on macro-historical transformations of sensibilities and bodily practices in the longue durée of centuries, whereas I bound my inquiry to the near-synchronic term of a small-scale institution that works to erase outside time. 460 Wacquant The degree to which gyms succeed, and thus the porousness of the membrane that sets them off from the world about them, depends on such variables as the age composition, geographic dispersion, and career track and stage of the boxers, the character and charisma of their coaches, their seniority and position in the local pugilistic space, and the intensity of threats from their proximate environment (such as a lively street trade in narcotics in the vicinity, which creates criminal turbulence as well as rival career opportunities). There is yet another reason why a traditionalist gym such as Woodlawn displayed a consistently high level of sociosymbolic separation from the outside: those who did not want or could not put up with its strict regimen were put out by head coach DeeDee—something a trainer in a city facility such as that studied by Hoffman cannot do. So my portrait of Woodlawn does not “mystif[y] the isolation of the gym for ambient effect” (Hoffman and Fine 2005, p. 153). Nor does it stipulate that the antagonism between the gym and the surrounding ghetto is one that forbids communication and exchange, quite the opposite. I stress repeatedly that the club defines itself in and through “a double relation of symbiosis and opposition to the neighborhood” (B&S, p. 17, original emphasis), such that it both feeds upon and fights against the preoccupations and values of the encompassing street networks and culture.22 This is why, pace Lynn Geurts (2005, p. 145), while it is a life-affirming medium so long as it holds boxers inside its grip, boxing cannot be the definitive “antidote” to the allure and deadly dangers of “fast life” in the inner city that it would aspire to be: aside from the physical wreckage it necessarily creates, prizefighting deeply depends on the ghetto for its raw bodily materials, unprocessed masculine libido, and cultural support. Nor can it save its devotees from a fate of social obscurity and economic marginality, as Patrick Krueger appears to expect (Krueger and SaintOnge 2005, p. 189). The best it can do is offer a place of respite and a temporary shield for constructing a gloried self within the parallel social and symbolic universe of the craft. But it cannot by itself remove the powerful impediments to social stability and mobility that the young men who take up boxing encounter in their peregrinations at the bottom of the class and ethnic structure. So I agree with Fine (2004a) that social agents are adept at oscillating between the task at hand in a given setting and the broader world beyond it; only I contend that the span and speed of such oscillation varies inversely with the degree of closure of the microcosm in which they are involved. In this regard, it must be stressed that, like a church, a monastery, a totalitarian party, or a utopian 22 This double relationship is further elaborated in “Protection, Discipline, and Honor” (Wacquant 1995b). Aside from the place of politics, the picture of Chicago gyms that Hoffman and Fine (2005, pp. 152–153) oppose to mine is in fact quite congruent with the Woodlawn scene, where boxers also “relayed stories of getting in street fights (acts that were generally admonished by the head coach unless an assailant had been critically provoked), and discussions of pop and hip-hop icons were routine,” and where “parents, friends, and intimates visited the gym on occasion” in the case of the younger amateurs (see, for starters, B&S, pp. 25, 33–34, 39–40, 51, 54–55). Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 461 community, a boxing gym belongs to the genus of greedy institutions as defined by Lewis Coser, that is, organizations which “seek to make total claims on their members and which attempt to encompass within their circle the whole personality,” and which therefore “attempt to reduce the claims of competing roles and status positions on those they wish to encompass within their boundaries. Their demands on the person are omnivorous” (Coser 1974, p. 4).23 These demands are codified by the occupational ethic of “sacrifice,” which mandates a total devotion to the craft and a diligent reorganization of one’s entire life according to the preceptum pugilisticum, as DeeDee reminds us in this tirade aimed at those who complain that professional boxing did not grant them the fullfilment of their aspirations: Those guys us’ly come back after it’s all over an’ say (in a whiny voice) “what I shoulda did an’ I didn’ get a break, an’ this an’ that,” they cry-babies, but (firmly) they didn’ dedicate theyselves to boxin’. N’ there’s no shortcut in boxin’. . . . Look at the ole man, he’s back because he lived a good clean life while he was away—George Foreman24 —so tha’s why he was able t’come back, but if he hadn’t of-sacrificed an’ kept his body and mind clear while he’s been out d’ring all these years, he couldn’ of-come back. So it just boils down to a basic thing: sacrifice. The regulated practices of abstinence that compose the trinity of the pugilistic cult as regards food, social life, and sexual commerce ostentibly aim at maximizing the fructification of corporeal capital and the readiness of the fighter for battle in the ring. But, like all religious edicts, they also have for practical effect to sharpen the social and symbolic boundaries between the devotees of the Manly art and those around them—starting with the age peers in their class and community—and to strengthen their ties with one another. Hoffman and Fine’s (2005, p. 155) counter that athletes frequently “stray from the preached gospel” handed by their coaches is no counter at all. First, I myself supply numerous examples of boxers who violate the commandments of the pugilistic catechism by smoking, training irregularly, running the streets with their buddies, eating and drinking with excess, or failing to “leave them ladies alone” at the appointed time (e.g., B&S, pp. 132, 139–140, 147–148, 241, 243; see also Wacquant 1998a). A high frequency of deviation from official doctrine is to be expected, given that boxers occupy marginal social 23 “Greedy institutions, though they may in some cases utilize the device of physical isolation, tend to rely mainly on non-physical mechanisms to separate the insider from the outsider and to erect symbolic boundaries between them . . . [They] aim at maximizing assent to their styles of life by appearing highly desirable to the participants. Greedy institutions are characterized by the fact that they exercise pressures on component individuals to weaken their ties, or not to form any ties, with other institutions or persons, that might make claim that conflict with their own demands” (Coser 1974, p. 6). 24 Foreman is a former heavyweight world champion, who won the gold medal in the 1968 Olympic games and then crushed titlist Joe Frazier in 1973 before losing his title to Muhammad Ali a year later in Kinshasa, Zaire, in a legendary fight dubbed “The Rumble in the Jungle” (and beautifully chronicled in Leon Gast’s movie, When We Were Kings). After two decades spent as a priest, he made a surprisingly successful return to the ring, eventually fighting again for the world title at age 42 and acquiring the status of a marketing folk-hero for middle-aged men. 462 Wacquant positions outside the club and that the gym is itself a structurally weak “greedy institutions”: it holds its members for only a few hours of the day; it is bereft of economic resources and rewards to bestow; and it is not the seat of a broadly recognized symbolic authority. Second, and more importantly, it is in the very nature of what Max Weber called a “hero ethic” that few conform to its dictates. In contrast with those composing an “average ethic,” the principles of Lebensführung of such a moral code “make basic demands on a person to which he can generally not live up except for the great high points of his life, which point the way as guideposts in his striving in infinity” (cited in Weber 1975: 378). The deontology of sacrifice sets up an ideal that is widely shared and constantly propounded; that few effectively realize it does not make it any less salient and valorized, on the contrary.25 Its constant collective reaffirmation, in words if not deeds, in and around the gym, generates a moral tension and works to reconfigure the activities and ties of all those who fall within its sphere of diffusion, even those who fail to meet or chose to disregard its exacting guidelines. And it provides a convenient and readily approved “vocabulary of motives” (Mills 1940) to explain away a faulty performance in the ring—as when boxers excuse a lackluster fight by insinuating that they did not stay away from their girlfriend on the eve of the contest (e.g., B&S, p. 241). One of the major attractions of the pugilistic trade to its participants is that it serves as a vehicle for moral transcendence through the heroization of everyday life (see also Wacquant 1995b and 1998a). The rules of the pugilistic ethic make the most mundane behaviors of ordinary existence, nutrition, sleep and sex, and social and family obligations, over into treacherous temptations that must be avoided and ubiquitous obstacles to be vanquished, setting up an endless series of tests that, together with daily training and periodic contest inside the squared circle, enable the boxer to affirm his valor and erect a gloried self—the sexual connotations of the verb are invoked here on purpose. For the heroization of the boxer’s life is first and foremost a process of masculinization, as it entails a systematic accentuation of those properties deemed demonstrative of virility. Cultural history and comparative anthropology show that the heroic ethic is the manly ethic par excellence: it extolls the distinctively masculine virtues of assertive action, competitive control, deliberate deprivation, and decisive denial (of doubt, fear, pain, and dependency), and it sets up masculinity as a prize to be won or a land to be conquered (see Gilmore 1990, for distant societies, and Kimmel 1995, for the United States).26 Boxing conforms to and indeed redoubles 25 The audacious violations of the code of “sacrifice” by Ricardo Mayorga cited by Hoffman and Fine (2005, p. 154) only reaffirm the sanctity of its rules: as Emile Durkheim showed long ago, crimes have to be committed for the community to be able to communicate and reactivate its commitment to shared norms. 26 Upon surveying conceptions of masculinity around the globe, Gilmore (1990, p. 223) stresses that in nearly every society, “manhood is a kind of male procreation; its heroic quality lies in its Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 463 this pattern. The Manly art purports to provide access to a higher grade of masculinity that can be achieved via an exclusive confrontation between men who have sublimated their heterosexual desire into a homoerotic desire for the martial, belligerent body of another man who similarly followed this ascetic course (Wacquant 1998a). This leads us to the question of the missing or miscast woman. Lynn Geurts’s (2005, p. 146) disappointment about Body and Soul is that it fails to represent women as willful and active participants in the boxing trade. She regrets that “flesh-and-blood women have little voice, nearly no agency, and teeter on the brink of sheer spectacle to this account.” I plead guilty to focusing on men in a fiercely guarded masculine preserve from which the second sex is well-nigh absent physically even as it is symbolically omnipresent.27 This focus is not (solely) the result of an unreflective “methodological androcentrism” often rightly reproached of male scholars—to which one would fruitfully counterpose a principled “methodological feminocentrism” (e.g., Wolf 1996). Rather, it is the product of (i) how women objectively figure inside of that universe made of men, by men and for men, men who clash ritually against one another to affirm their virility not by subjugating but, precisely, by erasing women from their reserved space of contest; (ii) the analytic and writing strategy chosen, which is to replicate in the compass and dramatic makeup of the text the movement whereby boxers are enwrapped into the gym and bound to one another into a special sociomoral community severed from the mundane; (iii) the kind and scope of personal relations that I developed with my gym mates as the primary social vehicle for ethnographic production. The marginal role accorded women in Body and Soul is not a “glaring omission” but an accurate report on the fact that “women in full-bodied relationality to these men are nowhere to be found” on the pugilistic stage proper, to use Geurts’s (2005, p. 148) own words. For the lovers, mothers, and sisters of fighters are dutifully kept to the wings and the backstage of the craft; they reenter its experiential foreground only in the aftermath of the climactic moment of the fight, as rewards (figured by the “exotic dancers” who perform on the dancefloor of Studio 104 after the boxing show held in the parking lot, B&S, pp. 220–225), and as social and emotional supporters when the fighter exits the (sacred, homoerotic) space of masculine confrontation to return to the (profane, heterosexual) world of everyday life anchored by work, family duties, and romantic ties. Put differently, the public self-direction and discipline, its absolute self-reliance—in a word, its agential autonomy.” This is an apt characterization of boxing as craft and contest. 27 This remains true even after the entry of females in official competition (it was approved by the U.S. Boxing Amateur Federation in 1993, that is, after my time at Woodlawn). Notwithstanding the growing popularity of the game amongst women, female boxers continue to be considered as a curiosa, their fights a sideshow or a freak show whose tenuous pugilistic legitimacy is at best derivative (thus Laila Ali owes her ring recognition and public fame essentially to her legendary father Muhammad). 464 Wacquant production of prizefighters is “gendered work” carried out by and amongst men.28 Similarly, Body and Soul is not “dismissive of the concrete problem of sexism in this South Side community of boxers” (Geurts 2005, p. 148). It is studiously agnostic about it because the issue simply does not fall within its purview, as the book takes existing gender relations in the black community and beyond as a background matrix productive of definite subjectivities and relations that get imported into the gym and remoulded therein. And it shows how masculine control of the microcosm of boxing is built into its very makeup, through the exclusion rather than the subordination of women.29 It is true that the reader is “not honored with an explanation about efforts to interview Curtis’s (intriguingly strong) wife” (Geurts 2005, p. 148). But neither is the reader treated to an exposition of Curtis’s complicated relationship with his absentee father (who is coldly rebuffed when he attempts to enter Curtis’s dressing room just prior to his fight) and his omnipresent brothers, and of his ties to his rambunctious cousins, and his neighborhood acolytes (some of whom are notorious drug dealers), or his barber and his preacher. Or given an extended report on Curtis’s experiences in the school system, on the labor market, and with the gamut of state agencies that supervise the life of America’s urban poor. Any account of “relationality” is necessarily selective. And here the span of connections dissected is purposefully kept to the closed milieu of the Woodlawn Boys Club and its direct extensions, because I wanted the book to enfold the reader into the microcosm of the gym in the same fashion as the boxers themselves are sucked and cocooned within it.30 Thus the support work and stroking function carried out by mothers, girlfriends, wives, and sisters in the wings recedes from the ethnography, 28 Reproaching me for neglecting the active role of women in the manufacturing of prizefighters is akin to criticizing, say, Marjorie De Vault (1991) for failing to treat men as full-fledged agents in the work of “feeding the family,” when she rightly reports that husbands are “passive background objects” in the social organization of caring. Geurts (2005, p. 147) remarks that she finds Body and Soul “particularly eloquent on the ways in which boxers divert their heterosexual libidinal drives away from flesh-and-blood women and toward ‘gettin’ it on’ in the ring, in a kind of homoerotic desire for their opponents.” But she does not see that the fading presence of women is the sociological counterpart to that intra-masculine focus. 29 Geurts (2005, p. 148) writes that “women do not speak, by and large, in this narrative either, and there is not even a footnote to explain why.” There is just such a footnote (note 8 on page 7 of the book’s Prologue) to indicate that the sequel study, The Passion of the Pugilist, with take up the question of gender frontally, and in particular examine “the ways in which these boxers think and talk about women” as potential ring rivals. The reader will then discover how and why prizefighters feel that women can box but that they should not box, as revoking the gender exclusivity of the craft would annul the symbolic profit of masculinity that is the fulcrum of the pugilistic economy. Curiously, Geurts overlooks the “exotic dancers” of Studio 104, described over a full five pages (B&S, pp. 220–225) in the scripted public display of the specifically feminine form of bodily capital, i.e., eroticized flesh, that is the counterpart to the violent skilled body of boxers across the gender line. 30 This homology between the technique of exposition and the process examined is remarked by Krueger and SaintOnge (2005, p. 186). Because she had a broader design explicitly locating that craft within the span of gender relations, Saouter (2000, chapters 6 and 7) devotes two entire chapters of her book on rugby in Southwestern France to the relation of rubgy players to their mothers, wives or girlfriends, and female fans. Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 465 along with other social relations, just as it does from the phenomenal horizon of the prizefighters. This is not the result of masculine oversight but the product of a deliberate analytic choice. In an ideal world with no limitations of time to inquire and space to write, and absent the strongly gendered expectations inscribed in the fabric of interpersonal relations, I would have replaced the boxers in the socioemotional triad tying them to their mother and female companion (when they had one), and then compared it to the pseudo-familial triad formed by the fighter, his trainer-mother and his manager-father.31 But the bonds that I developed with my gym mates were angled away from their domestic and familial spheres. So, while I grew close enough to Curtis, Ashante, and Anthony, for instance, to know their mothers and to be well apprised of the latter’s typical attitude of reluctant support towards their son boxing, that very closeness made it delicate for me to disregard the tacit moral contract that binds gym members, according to which they are not to pry into the personal life of their mates. The very friendship I had developed with them inside the club militated against trespassing onto intimate terrains outside of it. APPRENTICESHIP, VISCERALITY, WRITING “Twenty centuries of diffuse Platonism and of Christianized readings of the Phaedon incline us to see the body not as an instrument of but as an obstacle to knowledge and to ignore the specificity of practical knowledge, which is treated either as mere obstacle to knowing or as a rudimentary science” (Bourdieu 1997/2000, p. 170, my translation). Body and Soul endeavors to avoid these twin errors by making apprenticeship both the object and the means of inquiry. By the same token, it seeks to demonstrate practically that initiation in real time and space is not only “one of the most felicitous paths toward ethnographic acceptance,” as proposed by Stoller (2005, p. 198), but a fruitful conduit for gaining an adequate command of the “culture” at hand, that is, a major technique of ethnographic investigation and interpretation in its own right. And one that is especially wellsuited to capturing the visceral quality of social life that standard modes of social inquiry typically purge from their accounts. As a traditional and practical mode of knowledge transmission that gradually converts a novice into a recognized member of the craft through a total pedagogy imparting at once sensorimotor, mental, and social aptitudes, apprenticeship brings to the fore the antepredicative components of the corporeal intelligence that tacitly guides social agents in their familiar universe prior to entering the 31 I will show in Passion of the Pugilist how, in division of labor and ethos, the pair formed by the trainer and manager operate as a sort of parental unit overloooking the boxer, with the former taking on the motherly role of nurturance and emotional succor while the latter wields authority and makes economic decisions. There is scant mention of partners and mothers in the abundant native and journalistic literature on the Manly art. Yvonne Lafferty, at the University of Queensland, is presently conducting research on this topic. 466 Wacquant plane of consciousness and language (Merleau-Ponty 1947/1962). It enables us to grasp human conduct not as the raw precipitate of external structures (causes) or the refined outgrowth of internal drives and decisions (reasons) but as a mutual moulding and immediate “inhabiting” of being and world, carnal entanglement with a mesh of forces pregnant with silent summons and invisible interdictions that elude the scholastic distinction between subject and object as they work simultaneously from within, through the socialization of cognition and affect, and from without, by closing and opening viable paths for action. Apprenticeship considered as an activity enables us to pry into practice in the making and to realize that the ordinary knowledge that makes us competent actors is an incarnate, sensuous, situated “knowing-how-to” that operates beneath the controls of discursive awareness and propositional reasoning (Ryle 1940; see also Crossley 2001, chapters 4 and 5). Apprenticeship taken as a method allows us to probe into the makeup of habitus by studying not its products but its production; not the regulated strategies it informs but the coordinated techniques and patterned relations that form it. In short, practical initiation opens the joint labor of constitution of the social agent up for empirical observation and even experimentation. The central argument of Body and Soul here is, as Nina Eliasoph (2005, p. 160) stresses, that “we must enter the boxer’s bodies, as they collectively learn” their trade, “if we are to understand meaning-making.” For meaning-making is not a mental affair liable to an intellectualist reading, as the hermeneutic tradition, trapped in the scriptural metaphor of social action as text, would have us believe (Rabinow and Sullivan 1987). We cannot content ourselves with an interpretive deciphering of the boxers’ words and deeds, for the springs of their conduct do not reside merely “out there” in the form of publicly available symbols and codes; they also dwell “in here,” in the invisible schemata of cognition, cathexis, and action through which they probe and construct the world about them. A carnal sociology that seeks to situate itself not outside or above practice but at its “point of production” requires that we immerse ourselves as deeply and as durably as possible into the cosmos under examination; that we submit ourselves to its specific temporality and contingencies; that we acquire the embodied dispositions it demands and nurtures, so that we may grasp it via the prethetic understanding that defines the native relation to that world—not as one world among many but as “home” (Jackson 2000). Body and Soul maintains that, while gaining membership in a group— whether boxers, baritones, or bartenders—is never a warrant for studying it, it can be an invaluable methodological springboard, provided it is theoretically controlled and pragmatically implemented. As a study of embodiment, it takes the socialized organism as an empirical object and “an opportunity for a rethinking of culture and the self” (Csordas 1999, p. 180). But it does more: it treats the mindful body of the analyst as a fount of social competency and an indispensable tool for research. So much to say that, while it is particularly apt for studying intense Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 467 or passion-laden institutions, carnal sociology is not limited to studying “the extremes of society,” tasks “forc[ing] a kind of whole body/mind concentration that is usually not available to people in daily life,” or situations of risk and urgency (Eliasoph 2005, pp. 161–162). It is a general approach to social life because all agents are embodied and all social life rests on a bedrock of visceral know-how, or prediscursive knowledges and skills that are both acquired and deployed in practical entailment with a definite social cosmos.32 In this regard, Eliasoph (2005, p. 162) is right to note that “boxing is not very different from other activities: differences in bodily training seamlessly slide into differences in emotions and cognition.” Cognition and emotion, in turn, are incarnate responses that engage the trained faculties and proclivities of an indivisible “body-mind complex” (to recall a notion of William James) forged in and for accomplishing-things-in-theworld.33 And a fertile means for examining these competencies is to acquire them in practice. Eliasoph (2005, p. 163ff) is on target again when she ties the promise of carnal analysis closely to the question of writing. To yield all of their fruits, a full-bodied theory of action and a methodological approach premised on practical implication into the empirical maelstrom studied call for producing texts unlike the linear, monological, and monochordal accounts typically produced by field researchers. Breaking with the “visualism” that dominates such reporting, Body and Soul aims, not only to produce a “tasteful ethnography” (Stoller 1989) by disclosing the distinctive sensory semiosis of pugilism, but also to communicate the visceral cast of social action and indeed of field inquiry itself. For ethnographers are no different than the people they study: they are suffering beings of flesh and blood who, whether they acknowledge it or not, understand much of their topic “by body” and then work, with varying degree of reflexive awareness and analytic success, to tap and translate what they have comprehended viscerally into the conceptual language of their scholarly discipline. There are three reasons why Body and Soul came out nearly a decade after the fieldwork was completed and most of its arguments were worked out. The first is that I was turned off by the widespread professional expectation of a lurid exposé on the beastly world of boxing (as disclosed by that bizarre circus animal, the “boxing sociologist”), an expectation that was at loggerheads with my design to de-exoticize the craft and show what it shares with other passionate pursuits. The second is that I had to extricate myself from the emotional vortex into which 32 In this regard, I would certainly join with Elias in “disapprov[ing] the use of the term sociology of body” and the implication there are fields of social science where bodies do not matter (Dunning 2005, p. 171). For carnality is not a specific domain of practices but a dimension of all practice. 33 The most “mental” of actors, such as the philosopher, the mathematician, or the chess player, are fully embodied—although their distinctive brand of embodiment is one that systematically effaces the organism from the phenomenological foreground. Thinking itself is a deeply corporeal activity, as numerous philosophers, cognitive linguists, and neuroscientists have shown (e.g., Ryle 1940; Lakoff and Johnson 1999; Damasio 1999). 468 Wacquant leaving the gym had plunged me and resign myself to putting a definitive close to an episode of my life that was vastly more vivacious and rewarding than academe can ever be. The passing of coach DeeDee Armour in February of 2000 might be the event that triggered the realization that the book had to be finished and published, if only as an oblique sociological memorial to his lifework.34 The third was the thorniest: it was to find an expressive form and format suited to conveying to the reader at once the outer enthralling power and the inner social logic of prizefighting, to encapsulate and yet elucidate the pragmatic, sensual, and moral magnetism that it holds for those who come to be wedded to it day-to-day—an allure that boxers express by couching their attachment to the craft in the idiom of romantic love, infectious disease, and narcotic dependency (see Wacquant 1995a, pp. 507–510) and whose primal vigor I had unexpectedly come to feel firsthand. The challenge to transmit together the sensuous pizzazz and the sociological necessity of the Sweet science posed intractable problems of structure, composition, voice, and length until I made two successive moves. First I decided to split the task into two books, the one more narrative and perceptually driven (Body and Soul), and the other more thematic and conceptually propelled (Passion of the Pugilist), even as both partake of a single theoretical project, attacked from different angles, which is to examine the fabrication of social competency and to experiment with habitus, in the twofold sense of putting the notion to the test empirically and methodologically. Second, after much fumbling about, I resolved to fully assume the marriage of the three modes of writing that Body and Soul braids together: the analytical, ferreting out social structures and mechanisms, anchored by “The Street and the Ring”; the narrative, stringing together persons and events, most prominently in “Fight Night at Studio 104”; and the experiential, focusing on cognition and affect from the subjective point of view, climaxing with “‘Busy’ Louie at the Golden Gloves.” Instead of repressing or minimizing its literary dimension, I strove to integrate it into the scientific scaffolding of the book in the hope that it would work both as a piece of depictive ethnology and as an exercise in analytical sociology—with the risk that it might fall in-between these two genres or worse, if judged by each as pertaining to the other, be deemed to fail by the standards of both.35 For this purpose, I drew on the techniques of textual construction that I had learned over the years by reading, writing for, and assisting in the editing of Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, which include the integration of multiple 34 I say “might be” because we do not know well why and how we come to write the books that we do, aside from the obvious factors of professional pressure, social convention, and ego gratification. The expressive urge that we invest in such undertakings is variously shaped by the position we occupy in social space and in the intellectual field, but also by our personal relationships to significant others and how these mesh with writing as an inscriptive activity. In the present case, the writing drive was long censored (or, rather, diverted onto other objects) by the human dimensions and intimate implications of the task at hand more than by any other force. 35 Put differently and retrospectively, instead of choosing between them, I tried to combine in a single book the complementary strengths of “totalizing ethnography” and “narrative ethnography” (to use the typology of Dodier and Baszanger 1997) while skirting their converse limitations. Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 469 tiers of text featuring different fonts and types; the mixing of direct and indirect styles; the use of sidebars and boxes to intercalate field documents and interview excerpts, close-up descriptions of pivotal phases and processes, or the portraits and viewpoints of salient agents; and photographs used not as adornment but as visual instruments of objectivation, all in an effort to wed analytical precision with experiential acuity.36 I was also alert to the swirling debate on the “poetics and politics” of ethnography raised by American anthropologists around the time I was conducting my fieldwork (Clifford and Marcus 1987; Crapanzano 1992). But, unlike most participants in that debate, I hold that a concern for rhetorical composition and authority need not entail an abandonment of conceptual rigor and scientific veracity—in short, that “blurred genres” of writing can serve the aims of a postpositivist social science rather than imply a wholesale surrender to the seductions of humanistic musing. This is why, however flattering it might be to be accorded such pioneer status, I must dissent with Gary Fine’s (2004b, p. 505) proclamation of Body and Soul as the “first sociological classic of reflexive autoethnography.” My book is reflexive in that it self-consciously features the ethnographer in the picture and ongoingly turns the sociological theory it develops back onto his field experiences, but it is decidedly not autoethnographic by any current acception of that ill-defined genre (e.g., Reed-Danahay 1997; Bochner and Ellis 2002). It is not an exercise in “native anthropology,” since I am a sociologist who became a boxer of sorts and not the other way around. It is not autobiographical or even biographical as it is not organized around the life stories of individuals; if there is a central character to the tale told, it is not this or that boxer or even head coach DeeDee, and certainly not the author (except in Robert Zussman’s flowery imagination): it is the gym as socioemotional melting pot and pragmatic-cum-moral vessel. The personal trials and ring tribulations of its author are invoked, not to construct a “narrative of the self” (Denzin 1996), but inasmuch as they inform us about, and assist us in the analysis of, the multifaceted social alchemy whereby pugilistic agents are forged. The author thus enters into the ethnography not as the singular individual Loı̈c Wacquant but as “Busy” Louie, one of the experimental subjects undergoing this wondrous metanoia out of which emerges the proficient boxer, a new being furnaced out of the old, capable of and desirous to invest himself durably in the fistic craft, for better or worse.37 36 This journal, founded and edited by Pierre Bourdieu under the motto “to display and to demonstrate,” has been a major site of formal experimentation in social science writing since its origin in 1975. It seeks to convey not only the finished product but also the concrete operations of production of sociological knowledge, in an effort to “make possible a mode of expression genuinely adapted to the demands of a science which, taking as its object social forms and formalisms, must reproduce in the display of its results the operations of desacralization that enabled it to reach that object” (untitled 1975 editorial preface to the first issue of Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 1975; for a fuller discussion, see Wacquant 2005c). 37 This is why, to the chagrin of Young (2005, p. 183), I do not dwell on the many “moments of curiosity, concern, confusion, intrigue or conflict associated” with my presence at the Woodlawn Boys Club. 470 Wacquant Body and Soul is moreover written against the grain of postmodernism and at crosscurrent with the narcissistic irrationalism that has informed autoethnographic efforts of the past decade. It firmly grounds its subjects in an objective social structure of material forces and symbolic relations. It studiously shuns the hoary notion of identity and sidesteps the issues of “voice and authenticity, and of cultural displacement” and “resistance” that have preoccupied contributors to that current to the point of obsession (Reed-Danahay 1999, p. 3).38 Far from joining in the fashionable jeremiad over “the ends of ethnography” (Clough 1998), its goal is to harness an expanded gamut of representational techniques and conceptual resources to the reinvigoration of fieldwork now detectible across the social sciences. I use documentary procedures and fictional devices, such as the elaboration of scenes, the depiction of characters, or the classical dramatic schema of the unity of time, place, and action (in the narration of “Fight Night at Studio 104”), to give the reader a vivid sense of the “taste and ache” of the action unfolding in and around the ring and to disclose its social springs and cultural rationale. Put differently: Body and Soul puts literary means of expression at the service of an expansive sociology—instead of the other way around, as advocated by Carolyn Ellis (1995) and Ruth Behar (1996)—and so it can be construed as anti-autoethnographic in design and spirit. Contrary to the fears of most sociologists and to the hopes of many anthropologists in the Anglo-American sphere, then, concern for textuality and tropes need not entail a slide into the epistemological morass of endlessly multiplying “standpoints” and a free-fall into subjectivity. It can be coupled with a commitment to rationalism and scientific objectivity (properly historicized), and thus with an empirically oriented social theory. So let me reassure Eliasoph (2005, p. 167) that theory has not, appearances to the contrary, been “moved” to “another book.” It figures fully in both this volume and its sequel, albeit under different guises. The concept of habitus as operant philosophy of action and methodological guide organizes the entirety of Body and Soul, even as it gets gradually backgrounded after the reader has been supplied with the conceptual tools and structural parameters needed to trace out on her own how prizefighters maneuver around, and play with, the dualities that organize their existence: material interest and sensuous desire, affection and exploitation, individuality and collectivity, the masculine and the feminine, the sacred and the profane, abstinence and jouissance. If theoretical language disappears from the surface of the text in the book’s second and third part,39 it is to better grip the reader and make her experience vicariously the sociomoral engulfment and temporal vertigo that boxers undergo. But the problematic of 38 For a bracing critique of the rampant misuses and abuses of the notion of “identity” in contemporary social science that is particularly apposite here, ponder the indispensable essay by Brubaker and Cooper (2000); for a germane appraisal of “The Biographical Illusion,” read Bourdieu (1986/1987). 39 So successfully that some U.S. critics of Body and Soul have deemed it blithely atheoretical, which testifies to the power of rhetorical conventions: theory that does not take the standard form of abstract conceptual language goes unnoticed. Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership 471 the “mutual intromission of world and agent” (to use the aptly sexual expression of Pierre Bourdieu in The Rules of Art) guides every question, observation, and notation throughout the book, including the telling of the “sociological novella” written through the eyes (and fists) of “Busy” Louie. But to acknowledge this, one must revoke the false equation of social theory with a self-advertised, abstract conceptual discourse and recognize that theory can be lodged instead in the very operations that produced the empirical object at hand—whatever the writing style in which it is presented. And one must take care to apply to a multivocal text a multilayered reading that properly matches each mode of writing with its corresponding mode of evaluation.40 Similarly, I chose the present tense deliberately to “presentize” the reader and insert her into the distinctive, self-generated temporality of the pugilistic cosmos, set by the interweaving of the tempo of training, the fluctuations of competition, and individual bodily and biographic rhythms. If “[my] ethnography floats in a kind of timeless ether,” as Stoller (2005, p. 199) points out, it is because the gym tends to loosen the string of outside events, snatch its members from their external temporal moorings, and thrust them into the relative timelessness of the pugilistic trade, with its compulsive rumination and constant consumption of its own slowmoving history (see esp. B&S, pp. 35–39). Like other worlds of passion, religion, science, art, politics, and warfare among them, boxing is an extraordinary machine to secrete its own time, to make time by forcibly synchronizing the multiple interlinked temporalities brought from the outside by participants (the times of schooling, work, family, biography, and, in the case of this author, research) and subordinating them to its own dictates.41 Timelessness, alas, is a social fiction. Because they are embodied, social agents are mortal beings, irrevocably fated to finitude and death, as I was brutally reminded by DeeDee’s passing. And so are the ethnographers, or the field personas 40 Because they conflate the analytical, the narrative, and the experiential voices interwoven in the book and artificially recast them under the dual categories of “ethnographic realism” and “personal memoir,” Hoffman and Fine (2005, pp. 152, 155, 156) mistake the practical naiveté of the boxing novice Busy Louie for the (alleged) “cultural naiveté” of the sociologist Loı̈c Wacquant. This leads them to portray the latter as a wide-eyed Dumbo who “buys into the blustery exaggeration” of informants who supposedly fascinate the former and to complain that Body and Soul “occasionally reads like the vast majority of the dramatic literary treatments of the sport in its strikingly romantic and totalizing descriptions” that “transfor[m] brutality into the arts and science.” But the romancing and the totalizing are in the fistic world, not in the eye of the beholder; and I demonstrate that there is both science and art involved in pugilistic bruising. Moreover, I do not accept at face value the enthused statements of members (e.g., Hoffman and Fine claim that I “buy” the “braggadacio” of old Herman Mills” when I write: “Mills rambles on badly and tells me the same story several times.g . . . DeeDee and the others don’t even pretend to listen to him,” B&S, 159, emphasis added). Their warning that “the stories that boxers tell constitute the world as much as the blows that they give and receive” is exactly the argument that I make about the oral folklore of the gym (B&S, pp. 39–40). 41 The argument that time is not external and transcendent to practice but, on the contrary, a constitutive yet emergent, and therefore variable, feature of systems of social action is made by Bourdieu (1997/2000: Chapter 6). 472 Wacquant that they invent and incarnate to ply their trade. Completing this experimental study of pugilism as bodily craft and sociology as carnal endeavor has demanded of me a painful form of self-work amounting to a silent and solitary labor of mourning, because it has entailed closing a chapter of my life that I wish would have remained open indefinitely, even if only in fantasy. 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Qualitative Research in Psychology, 8:81–92, 2011 Copyright © Loïc Wacquant ISSN: 1478-0887 print/1478-0895 online DOI: 10.1080/14780887.2010.544176 Habitus as Topic and Tool: Reflections on Becoming a Prizefighter LOÏC WACQUANT University of California, Berkeley, California Centre européen de sociologie et de science politique, Paris This article recounts how I took up the ethnographic craft; stumbled upon the Chicago boxing gym that is the central scene and character of my field study of prizefighting in the black American ghetto; and designed the book Body and Soul so as to both deploy methodologically and elaborate empirically Pierre Bourdieu’s signal concept of habitus. Habitus is the topic of investigation: the book dissects the forging of the corporeal and mental dispositions that make up the competent pugilist in the crucible of the gym. It is also the tool of investigation: the practical acquisition of those dispositions by the analyst serves as technical vehicle for better penetrating their social production and assembly. The apprenticeship of the sociologist is a methodological mirror of the apprenticeship undergone by the empirical subjects of the study; the former is mined to dig deeper into the latter and unearth its inner logic and subterranean properties; and both in turn test the robustness and fruitfulness of habitus as guide for probing the springs of social conduct. Properly used, habitus not only illuminates the variegated logics of social action but also grounds the distinctive virtues of deep immersion in, and carnal entanglement with, the object of ethnographic inquiry. Keywords: apprenticeship; carnal sociology; ethnography; habitus; social action; subjectivity; theory In this article, I recount how I took up the ethnographic craft; stumbled upon the Chicago boxing gym that is the main scene and character of my ethnography of prizefighting in the black American ghetto; and designed the book Body and Soul that reports on its findings so as to both deploy methodologically and elaborate empirically Pierre Bourdieu’s signal concept of habitus (Wacquant 2004a). I draw out some of the biographical, intellectual, and analytic connections between this research project on a plebeian bodily craft, the theoretical framework that informs it, and the macro-comparative inquiry into urban marginality of which it is an unplanned offshoot. I sketch how the practicalities of fieldwork led me from the ghetto as implement of ethnoracial domination to embodiment as a problem and resource for social inquiry. Through this reflection on becoming a prizefighter, I argue for the use of fieldwork as an instrument of theoretical construction, the potency of carnal knowledge, and the imperative of epistemic reflexivity. I also stress the need to expand the textual genres and styles of ethnography so as to better capture the Strum und Drang of social action as it is manufactured and lived. The concept of habitus supplied at once the anchor, the compass, and the course of the ethnographic journey recapped in Body and Soul. It is the topic of investigation: the Correspondence: Loïc Wacquant, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of CaliforniaBerkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA. E-mail: 81 82 L. Wacquant book dissects the forging of the corporeal and mental dispositions that make up the competent boxer in the crucible of the gym. But it is also the tool of investigation: the practical acquisition of those dispositions by the analyst serves as technical vehicle for better penetrating their social production and assembly. In other words, the apprenticeship of the sociologist is a methodological mirror of the apprenticeship undergone by the empirical subjects of the study; the former is mined to dig deeper into the latter and unearth its inner logic and subterranean properties; and both in turn test the robustness and fruitfulness of habitus as guide for probing the springs of social conduct. Contrary to a commonly held view that it is a vague notion that mechanically replicates social structures, effaces history, and operates as a “black box” that obviates observation and confounds explanation (see Jenkins 1991 for a standard regurgitation of these nostrums), it emerges that Bourdieu’s sociological reworking of this classic philosophical concept is a powerful tool to steer social inquiry and trace out operant social mechanisms. Properly used, habitus not only illuminates the variegated logics of social action; it also grounds the distinctive virtues of deep immersion in and carnal entanglement with the object of ethnographic inquiry. From the South Pacific to the South Side of Chicago Since the notion of habitus proposes that human agents are historical animals who carry within their bodies acquired sensibilities and categories that are the sedimented products of their past social experiences, it is useful to begin with how I came to ethnographic research and what intellectual interests and expectations I brought with me to the South Side of Chicago. My initiation to fieldwork predates my entry in graduate school at the University of Chicago in 1985. To fulfill my military duties (as every French male had to do back then), by a stroke of luck I was assigned to do a stint of civilian service in the South Pacific as a sociologist in a research center of ORSTOM, France’s former “office of colonial research.” I spent two years in New Caledonia, a French island northeast of New Zealand, in a small research team—there were only three of us—at the time of the Kanak uprising of November 1984. This means that I lived and worked in a brutal and archaic colonial society, because New Caledonia in the 1980s was a colony of the 19th-century type that had survived virtually intact to the end of the 20th century (see Bensa 1995 for an account). It was an extraordinary social experience for an apprentice-sociologist to carry out research on the school system, urbanization, and social change in the context of an insurrection, under a state of emergency, and to observe in real time the struggles between the colonials and the independence forces, and to have to reflect in a concrete way about the civic role of social science. For instance, I was privileged to participate in a closed congress of the Kanak Socialist National Liberation Front in Canala at the height of the clash, and I also traveled all the way around the “Grande Terre” (the main island) and made several sojourn in Lifou Island at the home of friends who were long-time Kanak militants at a time when practically no one was moving about in the territory. The New Caledonian crucible sensitized me to ethnoracial inequality and to spatial consignment as a vector of social control—the Kanaks were largely relegated to isolated rural reservations and hypersegregated neighborhoods in the capital city of Nouméa. It also alerted me to the variegated workings of rigid hierarchies of color and honor in everyday life and to the crucial place of the body as a target, receptacle, and fount of asymmetric power relations. And it exposed me to extreme forms of deprecative racial imagery: the native Melanesians were typically pictured as “super-primitives” devoid of culture and history, even as they were rising to seize their historical fate (Bourdieu & Bensa 1985). All Habitus as Topic and Tool 83 of this would prove immensely useful later, on the South Side of Chicago, where germane treatments of African Americans were current. It is in New Caledonia that I read the classics of ethnology, Mauss, Mead, Malinowski, Radcliffe-Brown, Bateson, etc. (especially works on the South Pacific: the Trobriand Islands were just nearby) and that I kept my first field notebooks. The very first was scribbled among the tribe of Luecilla, in the Bay of Wé, at Christmas 1983, about a year before the independentist uprising (its highlight was a section on going bat-hunting and having to eat the roasted proceeds of our expedition at dinner that evening). Field notations found their way into my first publications on educational inequality, colonial conflict, and the transformation of Melanesian communities under the press of capitalist expansion and French rule. At the close of my Caledonian sojourn, I got a four-year fellowship to go do my doctorate at the University of Chicago, the cradle of U.S. sociology and home of the main tradition of urban ethnography. When I arrived in Upton Sinclair’s town, my intention was to work on a historical anthropology of colonial domination in New Caledonia, but I got unexpectedly derailed and detoured into America’s dark ghetto. On the one side, the New Caledonian gates were abruptly shut after I filed a complaint against the mediocre bureaucrat who was my supervisor in Nouméa and had forced his name as co-author of a monograph on the school system that I had carried out by myself (Wacquant 1985). The directors of the Institute in Paris hastened to cover up for the cheater and effectively banned me from the island. On the other side, I found myself confronted day-to-day with the gruesome reality of Chicago’s ghetto, or what was left of it. I was assigned the last student-housing unit available on campus, the one nobody had wanted, and so lived I on 61st Street, at the edge of the poor black district of Woodlawn. It was a constant tremor and puzzlement to have right under my window this quasi-lunar urban landscape, with its unbelievable decay, misery, and violence, backed by a totally hermetic separation between the white, prosperous, and privileged world of the university and the abandoned AfricanAmerican neighborhoods all around it. Coming from Western Europe where such levels of urban blight, material destitution, and ethnic segregation are unknown, this questioned me profoundly on a quotidian level, intellectually and politically. It is at this point that the second decisive encounter of my intellectual life took place, the one with William Julius Wilson (the first was with Pierre Bourdieu, five years earlier, when I decided to convert from economics to sociology after hearing a public lecture by him, see Wacquant 2002a). Wilson is the most eminent African-American sociologist of the second half of the 20th century and the foremost expert on the nexus of race and class in the United States. His analysis of “Blacks and American Institutions” in The Declining Significance of Race (Wilson 1978) set the parameters for that subfield of social research in 1978. He was one of the faculty who had initially attracted me to Chicago, and so when he offered me a chance to work with him on the big research project on urban poverty he had just started (roughly, the agenda marked out by his book The Truly Disadvantaged; Wilson 1987), I jumped at the opportunity and quickly became his close collaborator and co-author. This allowed me to get straight to the core of the subject and also to get a close-up look at how this scientific and policy debate operated at the highest level, especially in the philanthropic foundations and “think tanks” that shaped the resurgence of the problematic of race, class, and poverty in the inner city. That is how I started my investigations, first as an acolyte of Wilson and then by myself, on the transformation of the dark ghetto after the riots of the 1960s, by striving to break with the pathologizing vision that pervaded and distorted research on the question. I owe a huge personal and intellectual debt to Bill Wilson, who was a mentor at once demanding and generous. He stimulated and supported me, and he also gave me 84 L. Wacquant the freedom to diverge from his analyses and at times to go in a direction diametrically opposed to his. By example, he taught me intellectual courage: to pursue the big picture, to dig deep into the details, to ask the hard questions, even when this entails ruffling a few social and academic feathers along the way. He also invited Pierre Bourdieu to speak to his research team on his Algerian research on urbanization and proletarianization from the early 1960s (Bourdieu et al. 1963). As it turned out, Bourdieu had tried to get The Declining Significance of Race translated into French a few years earlier. This meeting and the ensuing discussion solidified my sense that I could make a link between Bourdieu’s early anthropological inquiries into the lifepaths of Algerians subproletarians and the contemporary predicament of the residents Chicago’s black ghetto which preoccupied Wilson. But I did not know just how yet. Ethnography played a pivotal role at that juncture, on two counts. On the one hand, I took more anthropology than sociology courses because the sociology department at the University of Chicago was dull intellectually and because I was viscerally committed to a unitary conception of social science inherited from my French training. The courses, works, and encouragements of John and Jean Comaroff, Marshall Sahlins, Bernard Cohn, and Raymond Smith pushed me toward fieldwork. On the other hand, I wanted to quickly find a direct observation post inside the ghetto because the existing literature on the topic was the product of a “gaze from afar” that seemed to me fundamentally biased if not blind (Wacquant 1997). That literature was dominated by the statistical approach, deployed from on high, by researchers who most often had no first- or even second-hand knowledge of what makes the ordinary reality of the dispossessed neighborhoods of the Black Belt, and who fill this gap with stereotypes drawn from common sense, journalistic or academic. I wanted to reconstruct the question of the ghetto from the ground up based on a precise observation of the everyday activities and relations of the residents of that terra non grata and for this very reason incognita (see Wacquant [1992] 1998a for an early effort). I deemed epistemologically and morally impossible to do research on the ghetto without gaining serious first-hand knowledge of it because it was right there, literally at my doorstep (in the summertime, you could hear gunfire going off at night on the other side of the street), and because the established works seemed to me to be full of implausible or pernicious academic notions, starting with the scholarly myth of the “underclass” which was a veritable intellectual cottage industry in those years (see Katz 1993 and Gans 1995 for critical accounts and Wacquant 1996 for a conceptual dissection). As a white Frenchman, my formative social and intellectual experiences made me a complete foreigner to this milieu and intensified the need I felt to acquire some practical familiarity with it. After a few aborted attempts, by accident I found a boxing gym in Woodlawn, some three blocks from my apartment, and I signed up saying that I wanted to learn how to box, quite simply because there was nothing else to do in this context. In reality, I had absolutely no curiosity about or interest in the pugilistic world in itself (but I did want to get good exercise). The gym was to be just a platform for observation inside the ghetto, a place to meet potential informants. Habitus Comes to the Gym But, very quickly, that gym turned out to be, not only a wonderful window into the daily life of young men in the neighborhood, but also a complex microcosm with a history, culture, and an intense and rich social, aesthetic, emotional, and moral life of its own. In a matter of months, I formed a very strong carnal bond with the regulars of the club and with the old coach DeeDee Armour, who became a sort of adoptive father to me. Gradually I found Habitus as Topic and Tool 85 myself attracted by the magnetism of the “Sweet Science” to the point where I spent most of my time in and around the gym. After about a year, the idea grew on me to dig into a second research subject, namely, the social logic of a bodily craft. What is it that thrills boxers? Why do they commit themselves to this harshest and most destructive of all trades? How do they acquire the desire and the skills necessary to last in it? What is the role of the gym, the street, the surrounding violence and racial contempt, of self-interest and pleasure, and of the collective belief in personal transcendence in all this? How does one create a social competency that is an embodied competency, transmitted through a silent pedagogy of organisms in action? In short, how is the pugilistic habitus fabricated and deployed? That is how I found myself working on two connected projects simultaneously—two projects ostensibly very different from each other but in fact tightly linked: a carnal microsociology of the apprenticeship of boxing as subproletarian bodily craft in the ghetto, which offers a particular “slice” of this universe from below and from inside (Wacquant 2004a), and a historical and theoretical macrosociology of the ghetto as instrument of racial closure and social domination, providing a generalizing perspective from above and from the outside (Wacquant 2008). I had started writing a field diary after every training session from my first afternoon at the gym, initially to overcome the overpowering sense of being out of place on the pugilistic scene on so many levels and not knowing really what I would do with these notes. Now I shifted to taking systematic notes and to exploring the various facets of the Sweet science. The notion of habitus immediately came to me as a conceptual device to make sense of my personal experiences as a boxing apprentice and a scaffold to organize my ongoing observation of pugilistic pedagogy. I had read Bourdieu’s anthropological works front and back during my Caledonia years. So I was fully familiar with his elaboration of the notion, intended to overcome the antinomy between an objectivism that reduces practice to the mechanical precipitate of structural necessities and a subjectivism that confuses the personal will and intentions of the agent with the spring of her action (Bourdieu [1980] 1990; see Wacquant 2004b for a genealogy and exegesis of the notion). The author of Outline of a Theory of Practice had retrieved habitus from a long line of philosophers, stretching from Aristotle to Aquinas to Husserl, to develop a dispositional theory of action recognizing that social agents are not passive beings pulled and pushed about by external forces, but skillful creatures who actively construct social reality through “categories of perception, appreciation and action.” Unlike phenomenology, however, Bourdieu insists that, while being resilient and shared, these categories are not universal (or transcendental, in the language of Kantian philosophy) and that the generative matrix they compose is not unchanging. Rather, as the embodied sediments of individual and collective history, they are themselves socially constructed. As the product of history, habitus produces individual and collective practices, and thus history, in accordance with the schemata engendered by history. It ensures the active presence of past experiences which, deposited in each organism in the form of schemata of thought and action, tend, more surely than all formal rules and all explicit norms, to guarantee the conformity of practices and their constancy across time. (Bourdieu [1980] 1990, p. 91F) Four properties of the concept of habitus suggested its direct relevancy for disclosing the social making of prizefighters. First, habitus is a set acquired dispositions, and no one is born a boxer (least of all, me!): the training of fighters consists precisely in physical drills, ascetic rules of life (concerning the management of food, time, emotions, and sexual 86 L. Wacquant desire), and social games geared toward instilling in them new abilities, categories, and desires, those specific to the pugilistic cosmos (Wacquant 1998b). Second, habitus holds that practical mastery operates beneath the level of consciousness and discourse, and this matches perfectly with a commanding feature of the experience of pugilistic learning, in which mental understanding is of little help (and can even be a serious hindrance in the ring) so long as one has not grasped boxing technique with one’s body (Wacquant 1995a). Third, habitus indicates that sets of dispositions vary by social location and trajectory: individuals with different life experiences will have gained varied ways of thinking, feeling, and acting; their primary dispositions will be more or less distant from those required by the Sweet Science; and thus they will more or less invested in and adept at picking up the craft. This certainly accorded with my personal experience and notations on the disparate behaviors of my gym mates over time, as they tangled with the competing lure of the street and the gym, adapted to the authority of our coach, and sought to remake their self in accordance to the exacting demands of the trade. Fourth, the socially constituted conative and cognitive structures that make up habitus are malleable and transmissible because they result from pedagogical work. If you want to pry into habitus, then study the organized practices of inculcation through which it is layered (Wacquant 1995b). The “magical moment” of fieldwork that crystallized this theoretical hunch and turned what was initially a side activity into a full-blow inquiry into the social logics of incarnation was a rather inglorious one: it was getting my nose broken in sparring in May 1989, about nine months into my novitiate. This injury forced me to take a long “time out” away from the ring, during which Bourdieu urged me to write a field report on my initiation for a thematic issue of Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales in preparation on “The Space of Sports.” The result was a long article that showed me that it was both feasible and fruitful to convert the theory of action encapsulated by the notion of habitus into an empirical experiment on the practical production of prizefighters at the Woodlawn gym (Wacquant 1989, 2002a). This article was soon augmented by more direct engagement with habitus on the theoretical front. While I was carrying out my investigations on boxing and on the ghetto, I was in permanent contact with Pierre Bourdieu, who encouraged and guided me. Upon learning that I had signed up to learn how to box at the Woodlawn Boys Club, he had written me a note that said essentially, “Stick it out, you will learn more about the ghetto in this gym than you can from all the surveys in the world.” (Later on, as I got deeper into my immersion, he got a bit scared and tried to get me to pull back. When I signed up to fight in the Chicago Golden Gloves, he first threatened to disown me as he feared that I would get hurt, before realizing that there was no need to panick: I was well prepared for this trial by fire.) Bourdieu came to Chicago several times, visited the gym, and met DeeDee and my boxer friends (I introduced him to them as “the Mike Tyson of sociology”). During one of these visits, we hatched the project of a book that would explicate the theoretical core of his work, aimed at the Anglo-American readership, since it was on this front that there were the strongest distortions and obstacles to a fertile grasp of his models. We devoted three years to writing this book across the Atlantic (by fax, phone, letters and meetings every few months), entitled An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology (Bourdieu & Wacquant 1992), in which we disentangle the nexus of habitus, capital, and field. During those years, I led a sort of Dr.-Jekyll-and-Mr.-Hyde existence, boxing by day and writing social theory by night. In the afternoon, I would go to the gym, train, hang out with my buddies, and “conversate” on end with our coach DeeDee before driving him home at closing time. And, later that evening, after having typed my fieldnotes, I would switch to the book manuscript with Bourdieu. It was in turns intoxicating, invigorating, and exhausting. But the daytime Habitus as Topic and Tool 87 sessions as a student of pugilism offered both a respite from theoretical cogitation and powerful stimuli for thinking through the abstract issues tackled in the book in very mundane empirical terms. The sociology of the ghetto (which I had extended to encompass a comparison with the postindustrial transformation of the French urban periphery), the carnal ethnography of the skilled body, and theoretical work with Bourdieu: all of these strands were elaborated together and at the same time, and they are all woven together. The boxing project is an ethnography in a classic mold in terms of its parameters, a sort of village study like the ones British anthropologists conducted in the 1940s, except that my village is the boxing gym and its extensions, and my tribe the fighters and their entourage. I retained this structural and functional unity because it encloses the boxers and carves out a specific temporal, relational, mental, emotional, and aesthetic horizon which sets the pugilist apart, pushes him to “heroize” his lifeworld, and thereby raises him above his ordinary environs (Wacquant 1995c). I wanted, first of all, to dissect the cloven relation of “symbiotic opposition” between the ghetto and the gym, the street and the ring. Next, I sought to show how the social and symbolic structure of the gym governs the transmission of the techniques of the Manly art and the production of collective belief in the pugilistic illusio. And, finally, I wished to penetrate the practical logic of a corporeal practice that operates at the very limits of practice by means of a long-term apprenticeship in “the first person.” For three years, I melted into the local landscape and got caught up in the game. I learned how to box and participated in all phases of the preparation of the pugilist, all the way to fighting in the big amateur tournament of the Golden Gloves. I followed my gym buddies in their personal and professional peregrinations. I dealt on a routine basis with trainers, managers, promoters, etc., who make the planet of boxing turn and share in the spoils of this “show-business with blood” (Wacquant 1998c). In so doing, I was sucked into the sensuous and moral coils of pugilism, to the point where I seriously envisaged interrupting my academic trajectory to turn professional. However, as the foregoing should have made clear, the object and method of this inquiry were not of the classic mold. Body and Soul offers an empirical and methodological radicalization of Bourdieu’s theory of habitus. On the one hand, I open the “black box” of the pugilistic habitus by disclosing the production and assembly of the cognitive categories, bodily skills and desires which together define the competence and appetence specific to the boxer. On the other hand, I deploy habitus as a methodological device, that is, I place myself in the local vortex of action in order to acquire through practice, in real time, the dispositions of the boxer with the aim of elucidating the magnetism proper to the pugilistic cosmos. This allows me to disclose the powerful allure of the combination of craft, sensuality, and morality that binds the pugilist to his trade as well as impresses the embodied notions of risk and redemption that enable him to overcome the turbid sense of being superexploited (Wacquant 2001). The method thus tests the theory of action which informs the analysis according to a recursive and reflexive research design. The idea that guided me here was to push the logic of participant observation to the point where it becomes inverted and turns into observant participation. In the AngloAmerican tradition, when anthropology students first go into the field, they are cautioned, “Don’t go native.” In the French tradition, radical immersion is admissible—think of Jeanne Favret-Saada’s ([1978] 1980) Deadly Words—but only on condition that it be coupled with a subjectivist epistemology which gets us lost in the inner depths of the anthropologist-subject. My position on the contrary, is to say, “go native” but “go native armed,” that is, equipped with your theoretical and methodological tools, with the full store of problematics inherited from your discipline, with your capacity for reflexivity and analysis, and guided by a constant effort, once you have passed the ordeal of initiation, 88 L. Wacquant to objectivize this experience and construct the object, instead of allowing yourself to be naively embraced and constructed by it. Go ahead, go native, but come back a sociologist! In my case, the concept of habitus served both as a bridge to enter into the factory of pugilistic know-how and methodically parse the texture of the work(ing) world of the pugilist, and as a shield against the lure of the subjectivist rollover of social analysis into narcissistic story telling. From Flesh to Text Some of my critics, conflating the narrative form of the book for its analytic contents and mistaking my work for an extension of the “study of occupations” in the style of the second Chicago School (Hughes 1994), did not even notice the double role which the concept of habitus played in the inquiry and even complained about the absence of theory in the book (Wacquant 2005c). In fact, theory and method are joined to the point of fusion in the very empirical object whose elaboration they make possible. Body and Soul is an experimental ethnography in the originary meaning of the term, in that the researcher is one of the socialized bodies thrown into the sociomoral and sensuous alembic of the boxing gym, one of bodies-in-action whose transmutation will be traced to penetrate the alchemy by which boxers are fabricated. Apprenticeship is here the means of acquiring a practical mastery, a visceral knowledge of the universe under scrutiny, a way of elucidating the praxeology of the agents under examination, as recommended by Erving Goffman (1989) in a famous talk on fieldwork—and not the means of entering into the subjectivity of the researcher. It is absolutely not a fall into the bottomless well of subjectivism into which “auto-ethnography” joyfully throws itself (Reed-Danahay 1997), quite the opposite: it relies on the most intimate experience, that of the desiring and suffering body, to grasp in vivo the collective manufacturing of the schemata of pugilistic perception, appreciation, and action that are shared, to varying degrees, by all boxers, whatever their origins, their trajectory, and their standing in the sporting hierarchy (Wacquant 2005a). The central character of the story is neither “Busy” Louie, nor this or that boxer, and not even DeeDee the old coach, in spite of his central position as conductor: it is the gym as a social and moral forge. Indeed, I hold that with this project, I did in an explicit, methodical, and above all extreme manner that which every good ethnographer does, namely, to give herself a practical, tactile, sensorial grasp of the prosaic reality she studies in order to shed light on the categories and relations that organize the ordinary conduct and sentiments of her subjects. Except that, usually this is done without talking about it or without thematizing the role of “co-presence” with the phenomenon being studied, or by making (herself and others) believe that this is a mental process and not a bodily and sensual apprenticeship which proceeds beneath the level of consciousness before it becomes mediated by language. Body and Soul offers a demonstration in action of the distinctive possibilities and virtues of a carnal sociology which fully recounts the fact that the social agent is a suffering animal, a being of flesh and blood, nerves and viscera, inhabited by passions and endowed with embodied knowledge and skills—by opposition to the animal symbolicum of the neoKantian tradition, refurbished by Clifford Geertz (1974) and the followers of interpretive anthropology, on the one hand, and by Herbert Blumer (1966) and the symbolic interactionists, on the other—and that this is just as true of the sociologist. This implies that we must bring the body of the sociologist back into play and treat her intelligent organism, not as an obstacle to understanding, as the intellectualism drilled into our folk conception of intellectual practice would have it, but as a vector of knowledge of the social world. Habitus as Topic and Tool 89 Body and Soul is not an exercise in reflexive anthropology in the sense intended by what is called “poststructuralist” or “postmodern” anthropology, for which the return of the analytic gaze is directed either onto the knowing subject in her personal intimacy or onto the text that she delivers to her peers and the circuits of power-knowledge in which it travels, in a contradictory and self-destructive embrace of relativism (Hastrup 1995; Marcus 1998). Those forms of reflexivity, narcissistic and discursive, are rather superficial; they certainly constitute a useful moment in a research undertaking by helping to curb the play of the crudest biases (rooted in one’s identity and trajectory, affects, rhetorical effects, etc.). But they stop the movement of critique at the very point where it should start, through the constant questioning of the categories and techniques of sociological analysis and of the relationship to the world these presuppose. It is this return onto the instruments of construction of the object, as opposed to the subject of objectivation, which is the hallmark of what one may call epistemic reflexivity (Bourdieu & Wacquant 1992, pp. 36–46; Bourdieu 2002). And here is another difference with the “egological” or textual reflexivity of the subjectivist anthropologists: epistemic reflexivity is deployed, not at the end of the project, ex post, when it comes to drafting the final research report, but durante, at every stage in the investigation. It targets the totality of the most routine research operations, from the selection of the site and the recruitment of informants to the choice of questions to pose or to avoid, as well as the engagement of theoretic schema, methodological tools and display techniques, at the moment when they are implemented. So Body and Soul is a reflexive book in the sense that the very design of the inquiry forced me to constantly reflect on the suitability of the means of investigation to its ends, on the difference between the practical mastery and the theoretical mastery of a practice, on the gap between sensorial infatuation and analytic comprehension, on the hiatus between the visceral and the mental, the ethos and the logos of pugilism as well as of sociology. Likewise, Urban Outcasts (Wacquant 2008), the companion book of macrosociology which draws up a comparison of the structure and experience of urban relegation in the black American ghetto and the French urban periphery, is a work of reflexive urban sociology because it ceaselessly interrogates the very categories it puts into question and into play—“underclass,” “inner city,” “banlieues,” hyperghetto, anti-ghetto, precariat—to think the novel configurations of marginality in the city. And because it rests on a clear-cut demarcation between folk categories and analytic categories, which is for me the plinth of reflexivity. Epistemic reflexivity is all the more urgently needed by ethnographers as everything conspires to invite them to submit to the preconstructions of common sense, lay or scholarly. By methodological duty, they must be attentive to the agents they study and take seriously their “point of view.” If they do their job well, they also find themselves bound to these agents by affective ties that encourage identification and transference (for an astute analysis of the methodological use of transference in Body and Soul, see Manning 2005). Finally, the public image of ethnography (including, regrettably, in the eyes of other social scientists) likens it to story-telling, diary-writing, if not to epic. So much to say that the anthropologist or sociologist who relies on fieldwork must double the dose of reflexivity. This is what I tried to demonstrate in “Scrutinizing the Street” about recent trends and foibles in U.S. urban ethnography (Wacquant 2002b). The considered target of my critique is not the three books on race and urban poverty that I subject to a meticulous analytic dissection (and still less their authors, who are here simply points in academic space, or their political positions, to which I am completely indifferent), but a certain epistemological posture of unreflective surrender to folk apperceptions, to ordinary moralism, to the seductions of official thought and to the rules of academic decorum. This posture is the 90 L. Wacquant fount of serious scientific errors, as these errors are systematic and have both ordinary and scholarly common sense on their side. To enable the reader to experience the thrills of the apprentice-boxer and to make palpable both the logic of the fieldwork and its end-product required adopting a quasitheatrical mode of writing. How to go from the guts to the intellect, from the comprehension of the flesh to the knowledge of the text? Here is a real problem of concrete epistemology about which we have not sufficiently reflected, and which for a long time seemed to me nearly irresolvable (notwithstanding the varied attempts at and discussions of formal innovation and poetic construction among anthropologists). To restitute the carnal dimension of ordinary existence and the bodily anchoring of the practical knowledge constitutive of pugilism—but also of every practice, even the least “bodily” in appearance, including sociological analysis—requires indeed a complete overhaul of our way of writing social science. In the case at hand, I had to find a style breaking with the monological, monochromatic, linear writing of the classic research account from which the ethnographer has withdrawn and elaborate a multifaceted writing mixing styles and genres, so as to capture and convey “the taste and ache of action” to the reader (Wacquant 2004a, pp. vii–xii). Body and Soul is written against subjectivism, against the narcissism and irrationalism that undergird so-called “postmodern” literary theory, but that does not mean that we should for that deprive ourselves of the literary techniques and instruments dramatic exposition that this tradition gives us. That is why the book mixes three types of writing, intertwined with each other, but each given priority in one of the three parts, so that the reader slides smoothly from concept to percept, from analysis to experience. The first part anchors a classic sociological style in an analytic mold that identifies at the outset structures and mechanisms so as to give the reader the tools necessary for explaining and understanding what is going on. The tone of the second part is set by ethnographic writing in the strict sense, that is, a dense depiction of the ways of being, thinking, feeling, and acting proper to the milieu under consideration, where one encounters again these mechanisms but in action, through the effects they produce. The experiential moment comes in the third part, in the form of “sociological novella” that delivers felt action, the lived experience of a subject who also happens to be the analyst. The weighed combination of these three modalities of writing—the sociological, the ethnographic, and the literary—according to proportions that become gradually inverted as the book progresses, aims to enable the reader to feel emotionally and understand rationally the springs and turns of pugilistic action. For this, the text weaves together an analytic lattice, stretches of closely edited field notes, counterpoints composed of portraits of key protagonists and excerpts from interviews, as well as photographs whose role is to foster a synthetic grasp of the dynamic interplay of the factors and forms inventoried in the analysis, to give the reader a chance to “touch with her own eyes” the beating pulse of pugilism. Here again, everything hangs together: the theory of habitus, the use of apprenticeship as technique of investigation, the place accorded to the sentient body as vector of knowledge, and formal innovation in writing. Indeed, there is no point in carrying out a carnal sociology backed by practical initiation if what it reveals about the sensorimotor magnetism of the universe in question ends up disappearing later in the writing, on the pretext that one must abide by the textual canons dictated by Humean positivism or neo-Kantian cognitivism. Many social researchers view theory as a set of abstract notions that either float high up in the pure sky of ideas, disconnected from the nitty-gritty of the conduct of inquiry, or constitute responses to the empirical questions that the latter raises, to be discovered in the real world, as in the approach labeled “grounded theory.” This is a misconstrual of the Habitus as Topic and Tool 91 relationship of theory and research, and ethnography in particular. 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Wacquant, L 1995a, ‘The pugilistic point of view: how boxers think and feel about their trade’, Theory & Society, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 489–535. Wacquant, L 1995b, ‘Pugs at work: bodily capital and bodily labor among professional boxers’, Body & Society, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 65–94. Wacquant, L 1995c, ‘Protection, discipline et honneur: une salle de boxe dans le ghetto américain’, Sociologie et sociétés, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 75–89. Wacquant, L 1996, ‘L’‘underclass’ urbaine dans l’imaginaire social et scientifique américain’, in S Paugam (ed.), L’exclusion: l’état des saviors, pp. 248–62, Editions La Découverte, Paris. Wacquant, L 1997, ‘Three pernicious premises in the study of the American ghetto’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 341–53. 92 L. Wacquant Wacquant, L [1992] 1998a, ‘Inside the zone: the social art of the hustler in the Black American ghetto’, Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 1–36. Wacquant, L 1998b, ‘The prizefighter’s three bodies’, Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 325–52. Wacquant, L 1998c, ‘A flesh peddler at work: power, pain, and profit in the prizefighting economy’, Theory & Society, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 1–42. Wacquant, L 2001, ‘Whores, slaves, and stallions: languages of exploitation and accommodation among professional fighters’, Body & Society, vol. 7, no. 2/3, pp. 181–94. (Special issue on Commodifying Bodies) Wacquant, L 2002a, ‘Taking Bourdieu into the field’, Berkeley Journal of Sociology, vol. 46, pp. 180–86. Wacquant, L 2002b, ‘Scrutinizing the street: poverty, morality, and the pitfalls of urban ethnography’, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 107, no. 6, pp. 1468–1532. Wacquant, L [2000] 2004a, Body and soul: notebooks of an apprentice boxer, Oxford University Press, New York. Wacquant, L 2004b, ‘Habitus’, in J Beckert & M Zafirovski (eds.), International encyclopedia of economic sociology, pp. 315–19, Routledge, London. Wacquant, L 2005a, ‘Carnal connections: on embodiment, membership and apprenticeship’, Qualitative Sociology, vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 445–71. (Response to the special issue on Body and Soul, vol. 28, no. 3, Fall 2005) Wacquant, L 2005b, ‘Shadowboxing with ethnographic ghosts: a rejoinder’, Symbolic Interaction, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 441–47. (Response to the symposium Body and Soul) Wacquant, L 2008, Urban outcasts: a comparative sociology of advanced marginality, Polity Press, Cambridge. Wilson, WJ 1978, The declining significance of race: Blacks and changing American institutions, University of Chicago Press, Chicago. Wilson, WJ 1987, The truly disadvantaged: the inner city, the underclass, and public policy, University of Chicago Press, Chicago. About the Author Loïc Wacquant is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Researcher at the Centre européen de sociologie et de science politique, Paris. A MacArthur Foundation Fellow and recipient of the Lewis Coser Award of the American Sociological Association, his interests span incarnation, ethnoracial domination, urban inequality, the penal state, and social theory. Wacquant’s books have been translated into a dozen languages and include Body and Soul: Notebooks of An Apprentice Boxer (2004), Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality (2008), Punishing the Poor: The New Government of Social Insecurity (2009), and Deadly Symbiosis: Race and the Rise of the Penal State (2011).
Article Body & Society 2014, Vol. 20(2) 3–17 Homines in Extremis: What Fighting Scholars Teach Us about Habitus ª The Author(s) 2014 Reprints and permission: DOI: 10.1177/1357034X13501348 Loı̈c Wacquant University of California Centre européen de socialogie et de science politique Abstract I use the collection of ‘‘carnal ethnographies’’ of martial arts and combat sports assembled by Raul Sanchez and Dale Spencer under the title Fighting Scholars to spotlight the fruitfulness of deploying habitus as both empirical object (explanandum) and method of inquiry (modus cognitionis). The incarnate study of incarnation supports five propositions that clear up tenacious misconceptions about habitus and bolster Bourdieu’s dispositional theory of action: (1) far from being a ‘‘black box,’’ habitus is fully amenable to empirical inquiry; (2) the distinction between primary (generic) and secondary (specific) habitus enables us to capture the malleability of dispositions; (3) habitus is composed of cognitive, conative and affective elements: categories, skills, and desires; (4) habitus allows us to turn carnality from problem to resource for the production of sociological knowledge; and (5) thus to realize that all social agents are, like martial artists, suffering beings collectively engaged in embodied activities staged inside circles of shared commitments. Keywords body, Bourdieu, carnal sociology, categories, combat sports, desire, habitus, martial arts, skills The function of habitus is, precisely, to restore to the agent a generative and unifying power, a constructive and classifying potency, while at the same time reminding us that this capacity to construct social reality, itself socially constructed, is not that of a transcendental subject but that of a socialized body, which engages in practice organizing principles that Corresponding author: Loı̈c Wacquant. Email: Extra material: 4 Body & Society 20(2) are socially constructed and acquired in the course of a social experience at once situated and dated. (Pierre Bourdieu, Pascalian Meditations) In Fighting Scholars, Raul Sánchez and Dale Spencer (2013) gather a rich interdisciplinary and international suite of field studies of martial arts and combat sports by researchers who learned and practice the bodily craft they dissect.1 That unusual collection in design and focus – covering boxing, kung fu, tae kwon do, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the South Indian craft of kalarippayattu, the African-American vernacular practice of 52 handblocks, aikido and muay thai boxing – was inspired by Body and Soul, my carnal ethnography of prizefighting in Chicago’s ghetto (Wacquant, 2004a).2 It is framed by a reprint of my essay on ‘‘Habitus as topic and tool’’ (Wacquant, 2011), which explicates how, by means of deep immersion leading to conversion during a three-year journey among practitioners of the Sweet science, I deployed and extended Bourdieu’s signal concept of habitus both empirically and methodologically. Habitus is first the topic of my investigation: Body and Soul documents the manufacturing of the ‘‘schemata of perception, appreciation and action’’ (to recall Bourdieu’s [1990: 14] capsule definition) that make up the competent boxer in the crucible of the gym. But the distinctiveness of this project is that habitus is also the tool for investigation: the practical acquisition of those schemata by the analyst serves as technical vehicle for better penetrating their social production and assembly. The apprenticeship of the sociologist is a methodological template for and mirror of the apprenticeship undergone by the empirical subjects of the study; the former is mined to dig deeper into the latter and to excavate its inner logic and subterranean properties; and both in turn test the robustness of habitus as guide for probing the makeup of social conduct. I am gratified that Body and Soul served as stimulus for the studies gathered in Fighting Scholars since it was always my intention to make a case for, and to attract others to, the incarnate study of incarnation by practical example – rather than by theoretical expostulation or methodological supplication, which would have contradicted that very case. I am doubly pleased that its contributors have extended the reach and refined the arguments of my book in manifold new directions, connecting them with theoretical perspectives and empirical agendas beyond the one I pursued in my study of the social springs and lived magnetism of pugilism as plebeian bodily trade. Fighting Wacquant 5 Scholars gathers lush materials and precise analyses of interest not only to sociologists of practice and embodiment within the narrow province of sport but also to generalist students of discipline, violence, gender, religion, emotions, reflexivity, and field methodology and social epistemology insofar as inquiring into martial arts and combat sports via apprenticeship inevitably raises these issues.3 It also demonstrates the fruitfulness of deploying habitus as both empirical object (explanandum) and method of inquiry (modus cognitionis). In this article, I extract from the carnal study of bodily crafts five propositions supported by Fighting Scholars that, together, bolster and enrich Bourdieu’s dispositional theory of action by clearing up tenacious misconceptions about habitus. 1. Habitus is Fully Amenable to Empirical Inquiry Fighting Scholars convincingly rebuts the oft-repeated but seldom elaborated criticism that habitus is a ‘‘black box’’ that muddles the analysis of social conduct, erases history, and freezes practice in the endless replication of structure. This complaint has been recited now over three decades (see, for a sample, Connell 1983: 151; Elster 1983: 106; Boudon 1998: 176; King 2000; Liechty 2002: 22; Boltanski 2003; Mouzelis 2004: 109; Harris 2007: 237; Akram 2013: 57-59) in rote fashion by scholars who seem not to have noticed three stubbornly contrary facts. First, Bourdieu introduced habitus in his youthful crossMediterranean ethnographies of honor, kinship and power in Algeria and Béarn in order to account for cultural disjuncture and social transformation, not cultural congruence and social reproduction (Wacquant, 2004b). Second, habitus alone never spawns a definite practice: it takes the conjunction of disposition and position, subjective capacity and objective possibility, habitus and social space (or field) to produce a given conduct or expression.4 And this meeting between skilled agent and pregnant world spans the gamut from felicitous to strained, smooth to rough, fertile to futile. Third and relatedly, because they are acquired over time in diverse circumstances that can entail extended and abrupt travel across social space, and because they encounter a cosmos that may itself undergo swift and sweeping change as well as subject them to heterogeneous pressures and possibilities (as did the colonial society wracked by a nationalist war of liberation in which Bourdieu incubated his model of action), 6 Body & Society 20(2) the dispositions of agents display varying degrees of internal integration. This is why Bourdieu (2000 [1997]: 160, 162) insists that ‘‘habitus is neither necessarily adapted [to the situation], nor necessarily coherent’’; it can be ‘‘riven by internal contradiction and division’’; and ‘‘it can have its failings, critical moments of perplexity and discordance’’ when it produces unforeseen and nonconforming practices. All of which implies that it must be studied in its actual formation and extant manifestations, and not stipulated by analytic fiat. Indeed, far from being a ‘‘theoretical deus ex machina’’ (DiMaggio, 1979: 1464) that keeps us locked in conceptual obscurity, habitus is a standing invitation to investigate the social constitution of the agent. It is not an answer to the conundrum of action – lately rephrased by invoking the equally enigmatic category of ‘‘agency’’ – but a question or, better yet, an empirical prompt: an arrow pointing to the need to methodically historicize the concrete agent embedded in a concrete situation by reconstituting the set of durable and transposable dispositions that sculpt and steer her thoughts, feelings, and conduct. There are three ways to detect the architecture of the stratified system of schemata that compose habitus. The first, synchronic and inductive, is to trace out connections between patterns of preferences, expressions, and social strategies within and across realms of activity so as to infer their shared matrix. This is the approach followed by Bourdieu, for instance, in his early study of ‘‘the sentiment of honor’’ among the Kabyles (Bourdieu, 1966) and in his mature inquiry into the internal makeup of the French ruling class in The State Nobility (Bourdieu, 1996 [1989]). The second, diachronic and deductive, is to map out the social trajectories of agents so as to reconstitute the sequencing and sedimentation of layers of dispositions across time, for which the paradigmatic case is the sociography of the petty bourgeoisie offered in Distinction (Bourdieu, 1984 [1979]: 318–71). The third, experimental, is taken up in Body and Soul and by the contributors to Fighting Scholars: it consists of studying the dedicated institutions and focused pedagogical programs that forge a specific habitus by submitting to them in the first person.5 2. Primary and Secondary Habitus The ‘‘fighting scholars’’ clear up another common misconception about habitus: that it is rigid, frozen, unchanging and unchangeable. Wacquant 7 By deliberately acquiring specialized dispositions they did not have, dispositions that are constitutive of a bodily trade and philosophy, they spotlight the malleability of habitus, in keeping with Bourdieu’s (2000 [1997]: 161) late specification of the concept: Habitus change constantly as a function of new experiences. Dispositions are subject to a sort of permanent revision, but one that is never radical, given that it operates on the basis of premises instituted in the previous state. They are characterized by a combination of constancy and variation that fluctuates according to the individual and her degree of rigidity or flexibility. This suggests the need to return to, and elaborate, Bourdieu’s distinction between primary and secondary habitus, introduced in his work on education and underlying his analysis of the nexus of class and taste in Distinction. The primary habitus is the set of dispositions one acquires in early childhood, slowly and imperceptibly, through familial osmosis and familiar immersion; it is fashioned by tacit and diffuse ‘‘pedagogical labor with no precedent’’; it constitutes our baseline social personality as well as ‘‘the basis for the ulterior constitution of any other habitus’’ (Bourdieu and Passeron, 1977 [1970]: 42–6). The secondary habitus is any system of transposable schemata that becomes grafted subsequently, through specialized pedagogical labor that is typically shortened in duration, accelerated in pace, and explicit in organization. This distinction echoes the contrast established by Bourdieu between ‘‘the two modes of acquisition of culture,’’ the familial and the academic, the experiential and the didactic, which indelibly stamp one’s relation to culture and the character of one’s cultural capital, of which habitus is the embodied form (Bourdieu, 1984 [1979]: 65–8): the first spawns the ease and insouciance that define excellence; the second bears the mark of effort and tension born of ascesis. Every agent has a primary (generic) habitus, which is both springboard and matrix for the subsequent acquisition of a multiplicity of (specific) habitus. In the case of the ‘‘fighting scholars,’’ their martial or sporting habitus is a tertiary formation, grounded in their primary (gender, national, class, etc.) habitus and mediated by their scholastic habitus – which constitutes both a motivative resource and a built-in hindrance to gaining the practical mastery of a corporeal craft, insofar as it inclines the apprentice to a reflexive attitude. The casting of 8 Body & Society 20(2) a secondary (tertiary, quaternary, quinary, etc.) habitus will thus be inflected by the distance separating it from the systems of dispositions that serve as scaffolding for its construction because they precede it. The greater that distance, the more difficult the traineeship, and the greater the gaps and frictions between the successive layers of schemata, the less integrated the resulting dispositional formation is likely to be. We can discern this prismatic and compositional logic at work in the differential manner in which the various authors of Fighting Scholars respond, depending on their class and academic inclinations, to the challenges of mastering a combative craft and in the degree to which they feel ‘‘at home’’ in it, in the existential sense of being one with the social and symbolic microcosm it anchors (Jackson, 1995). 3. The Cognitive, Conative, and Affective Components of Habitus By digging deep across types of martial and fighting arts, the field studies gathered in that book suggest that one may analytically differentiate and empirically document three ‘‘components’’ to habitus.6 The first is cognitive: it consists in the categories of perception through which agents cut up the world, make out its constituents, and give them pattern and meaning. As the boxing gym adage goes, you will not become a prizefighter if you cannot ‘‘tell a fish hook from a left hook,’’ that is, without mastering the classificatory system that both separates and relates things, persons, and activities into a distinctive semantic tapestry. But habitus is not constituted merely of ‘‘cognitive structures,’’ as Bourdieu’s own language sometimes seems to imply. A second, crucial, module spotlighted by the initiatory study of corporeal crafts is conative: it consists of proprioceptive capacities, sensorimotor skills, and kinesthetic dexterities that are honed in and for purposeful action. Because they are propelled by the first-person learning of the practical competencies that constitute boxing, tae kwon do, capoeira, aikido, etc. in the real time and spaces where these are cultivated, the accounts composing Fighting Scholars illumine the pivotal role of the ‘‘habitual body’’ (Merleau-Ponty, 2004 [1948]) as seat of trained proficiencies and spring of intentional conduct in the world. Yet, to grow into a full-fledged member of a given microcosm, it still does not suffice to be able to interpret it and to act in it in Wacquant 9 conforming fashion; one must also aspire to be in it and of it; one must be motivated or moved by it over time. The third component of habitus is affective or, to speak more generally, cathectic (in the idiom of Talcott Parsons) or libidinal (in the vocabulary of Sigmund Freud). It entails the vesting of one’s life energies into the objects, undertakings, and agents that populate the world under consideration. In other words, to make an adept pugilist (pianist, politician or professor) takes acquiring in practice the distinctive cognitive constructs and the skilled moves as well as developing the proper appetite for the stakes of the corresponding social game.7 By documenting this lustful dimension of habitus formation, Fighting Scholars brings out the inescapable fact, highlighted by Marx (1988 [1927]) in his Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 but studiously suppressed by social science ever since, that the incarnate social agent is a suffering and desiring animal. 4. Carnality is Not a Problem but a Resource for Sociological Inquiry That proposition applies to the social analyst, who engages in her research sociological categories, skills, and desires – in short, her sociological habitus as a secondary (specific) system of dispositions mounted on her primary (generic) habitus. Like every human being, she is a feeling and desiring animal who knows the world by body in practice, which practice encompasses but is not limited to the deliberate discursive deployment of instruments of objectivation in accordance with the standards of her discipline. This means that she can deepen and broaden her anthropological grasp by attending to her own fleshly understanding and sentient comprehension, and sifting them through her analytic filters, instead of ignoring them or denying their fecundity. Better yet, the sociologist can use initiatory immersion and practical entanglement in the world under study, in conjunction with the classical tools of the social scientific method, to convert her intelligent organism into a fleet vehicle for social detection and analysis. This is what the ‘‘fighting scholars’’ accomplish as they go about acquiring and dissecting the practical mastery that fighters gain of their art so as to transform themselves and actualize the potentialities it harbors. They do so in a spiraling and self-propelling movement: 10 Body & Society 20(2) acquiring to dissect, dissecting to acquire, and so on. In the process, they demonstrate in action, and not just on paper, the methodological viability, theoretical fruitfulness, and empirical productivity of carnal sociology as a distinctive mode of inquiry. Put briefly, this approach takes seriously the embarrassing fact that social agents are motile, sensuous, and suffering creatures of flesh, blood, nerves and sinews doomed to death, who know it and make their world through and with their enskilled and exposed ‘‘mindful bodies’’ (Scheper-Hughes and Lock, 1987). And it insists that this proposition applies to the sociologist no less than to the people she studies, be they muay thai boxers, lathe operators, school teachers or corporate lawyers. Carnal sociology is based on a bet (or a dare): that we can turn carnality from problem to resource for the production of sociological knowledge. It asks that we revoke the dominant dualistic paradigm of embodiment, canonized by Descartes at the start of the rationalist revolution8 and percolating through multiple lineages to permeate most strands of social thought, from utilitarianism and structuralism to critical theory and hermeneutics, which share in the ‘‘dogma of the ghost in the machine’’ (Ryle, 2000 [1949]). Doing a Bourdieu on Bourdieu, it proposes that we use habitus as a methodological pathway, through the technique of apprenticeship, to pry into the forging and functioning of habitus as spring of social action. The aim here is to fashion a sociology from the body that does justice to the active side of embodiment and captures adept and sensual organisms, not just as socially construct-ed, but as socially construct-ing. This is emphatically not a call to hurl ourselves into the abyss of subjectivity (as the slippery genre of ‘‘auto-ethnography’’ does) but, on the contrary, a demand that we deepen objectivity by acknowledging that embodied knowledge and competence are productive constituents of objective reality. For carnal sociology, gaining a visceral grasp of the vis viva of the social world is not a distraction from, or a rejection of, the Durkheimian agenda of sociological reason but an indispensable means for its realization (Wacquant, 2009: 121–2). 5. We Are All Martial Artists We now come to the most critical yet most prickly of all questions: does any of this matter beyond the martial arts and combat sports, symbolically rich but socially marginal activities after all? Beyond Wacquant 11 the restricted perimeter of athletic avocations or performance crafts, including among them not only music, theater, and dance, but also preaching and politics? The greatest challenge that the ‘‘fighting scholars’’ leave untackled in their collective book is that of extending the teachings of their carnal investigations of corporeal trades to practice in general. Is such an extension warranted and, if so, is it possible? The title of this article is intended to indicate that it is both possible and warranted – indeed, needed – if we are to produce fullcolor accounts of social life conveying the ‘‘taste and ache of action’’ instead of erasing them as conventional social science routinely does (Wacquant, 2004a: vi–xii): sociologists and anthropologists hard at work learning an agonistic bodily art in order to disclose its inner workings are social beings, plural, collectively engaged (homines) in embodied activities staged inside circles of shared commitments that make them but extreme instances (in extremis) of what every social agent is and does as she navigates the world. I bring up this proposition because it drove me to study boxers in the first place: I was not motivated to spend three years in a boxing gym just to plumb the idiosyncratic features of the Manly Art. Aside from the sheer pleasure of being enwrapped in a gripping sensual and moral universe, I ploughed ahead in my journey among pugs because I held – and I still hold – that the ring offers an especially propitious experimental setting to show how social competence is fabricated and membership bestowed (Wacquant, 2005). I am keenly aware of the objection that practices vary in their ‘‘physicality,’’ or in their reliance on discursive reason, such that a prizefighter would seem to differ radically on that count from, say, a philosophy professor. For this objection was raised forcefully and rather intimidatingly by none other than John Searle after I presented the theoretical implications of Body and Soul to his Workshop on Social Ontology at Berkeley in April 2010. While Searle agrees that some notion much like habitus, which he calls ‘‘the Background,’’ is needed to account for social action,9 he considers that there is a ‘‘dramatic difference’’ (his words) between an athletic and an intellectual craft, one that renders transferring knowledge gained about the one to the other too risky if not invalid. He would advise studying ‘‘intermediate cases,’’ such as that of the soldier (in his response to my argument, he drew on the experiences of his son as a tank officer in a US army battalion stationed in Germany).10 12 Body & Society 20(2) I am not convinced. I take the difference between pugilists and philosophers to be one of degree and not one of kind. The existential situation of the generic, run-of-the-mill agent is not ontologically different from that of the fighter and of the ‘‘fighting scholar’’: like them, she is a sentient being of flesh and blood, bound to a particular point in physical space and tied to a given moment in time by virtue of her incarnation in a fragile organism. This porous, mortal organism exposes her to the world and thus to the risk of pain (emotional as well as physical) and injury (symbolic as well as material); but it also propels her onto the stage of social life, where she evolves in practice the visceral know-how and prediscursive skills that form the bedrock of social competency. Though carnal sociology is particularly apt for studying social extremes, its principles and techniques apply across all social institutions, for carnality is not a specific domain of practices but a fundamental constituent of the human condition and thus a necessary ingredient of all action.11 For this reason, and until this methodological strategy is practically invalidated, I would urge social analysts to start from the assumption that, pace Searle, we are all martial artists of one sort or another. Notes 1. This article is an extended version of the concluding chapter of Sanchez and Spencer (2013). It is also forthcoming in Portuguese translation in Estudos de sociologı´a (Recife; spring 2013); Danish translation in Praktiske Grunde (Copenhagen; winter 2013); Spanish translation in Astrolabio, nueva e´pocha (Cordoba; 10, spring 2013); Italian translation: ‘‘Homines in extremis. Che cosa gli studiosi lottatori ci insegnano sull’habitus,’’ Etnografia se ricerca qualitativa (summer 2013); French translation in Matthieu Quidu and Brice Favier-Ambrosini (eds) Le Corps du savant dans la recherche scientifique: approches e´piste´mologiques (Paris, Editions ENS, 2013). 2. Elsewhere, I characterize this approach thus: A carnal sociology that seeks to situate itself not outside or above practice but at its ‘‘point of production’’ requires that we immerse ourselves as deeply and as durably as possible into the cosmos under examination; that we submit ourselves to its specific temporality and Wacquant 13 contingencies; that we acquire the embodied dispositions it demands and nurtures, so that we may grasp it via the prethetic understanding that defines the native relation to that world – not as one world among many but as ‘‘home’’. (Wacquant, 2005: 466) 3. Proof is that the same roster of themes is tackled, frontally or sideways, by the more discursivist collection of Farrer and Whalen-Bridge (2012) on Martial Arts as Embodied Knowledge and by the articles gathered in the thematic issue of Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales on Martial Practices and Combat Sports (no. 179, September 2009), on the commercialization of cage fighting, the adaptation of Brazilian vale tudo in Bolivia, the codification of duel sports across Asia, the gender effects of the entry of women into boxing, and the social uses of pencak silat in the Indonesian military. 4. ‘‘Dispositions do not lead in a determinate manner to a determinate action: they reveal and accomplish themselves only in appropriate circumstances and in relation to a situation.’’ They may ‘‘remain always in the state of virtualities’’ or ‘‘manifest themselves in different, and even opposite, practices depending on the situation.’’ For the ‘‘principle of action’’ resides ‘‘neither in a subject . . . nor in a ‘milieu’’’ but ‘‘in the ontological complicity between two states of the social, history made body and history made thing’’ (Bourdieu, 2000 [1997]: 149). 5. See Desmond (2007) on wildland firefighters and Mears (2011) on runway models, for two methodologically germane studies of the production of the stereotypic forms of masculine and feminine bodily capital, respectively (namely, physical prowess and sexualized parading). Two further variants of the observational approach are to study habitus-forming pedagogies in action through close-up interviews, as in Herzfeld’s (2003) account of small-town artisans in Crete, and through archival documentation, as Charles Suaud (1978) does in his historical reconstitution of the production of the sacerdotal habitus in rural Brittany. 6. I regret having left this distinction implicit in Body and Soul, as I did most theoretical arguments, in keeping with a stylistic design geared to conveying the aesthesis of pugilism. Clarifying it would have bolstered the thesis that pugilistic desire intervenes as a crucial mediation between the structures of class marginality, racial 14 7. 8. 9. 10. Body & Society 20(2) subordination and masculine hubris and the extant practices of boxers in and out of the ring. In Pascalian Meditations, Bourdieu (2000 [1997]: 164) proposes that producing the dispositions required by a particular field (in the sense of champ) entails a ‘‘work of specific socialization [which] tends to foster the transformation of the originary libido, that is, the socialized affects constituted in the domestic sphere,’’ through ‘‘the transference of this libido onto the agents and institutions belonging to that field.’’ In his acid critique of Sartre’s projection of his intellectual unconscious onto his famous phenomenological vignette on the café waiter, Bourdieu (2000 [1997]: 153–5) reiterates that one ‘‘enters into the persona of the waiter not as an actor playing a role but, rather, like a child identifying with his father.’’ He suggests that the conversion of generic (narcissistic, sexual) libido into specific libidines operates via the redirection of desire toward, and the quest for recognition from, cathected persons beyond the familial circle. Cartesian dualism presents itself as the inescapable corollary of the application of rationalism in social inquiry. But this claim is refuted by the emergence, out of the same intellectual movement spanning the 17th century, of the monism of Spinoza and the pluralism of Leibniz (Phemister, 2006). Indeed, both Spinoza and Leibniz are, along with Ernst Cassirer, major sources of Bourdieu’s philosophical anthropology and social epistemology (more so, I would contend, than Pascal, in spite of Bourdieu’s own self-professed affiliation). ‘‘The thesis of the Background is simply this: intentional phenomena such as meanings, understandings, interpretations, beliefs, desires, and experiences only function within a set of Background capacities that are not themselves intentional’’ (Searle, 1992: 175). A few pages later, Searle (1992: 177) notes that the Background is ‘‘closely related’’ to Bourdieu’s habitus. This points to a deeper difference in philosophical anthropology: for Searle (2009), humans are, first and foremost, ‘‘languagespeaking animals’’ and language is the grand creator of social institutions and glue of human civilizations across history. I see humans as visceral creatures impelled by socialized drives and desires for which language provides a second-order means of social construction. Wacquant 15 11. Academics live under the comforting illusion that ‘‘physicality’’ is a property of a restricted class of practices that does not concern them because the specificity of scholarly embodiment resides in the radical effacement of the body proper from the phenomenological foreground: the scholastic condition as withdrawal from practical urgency intensifies the modal experience of ‘‘bodily absence’’ (Leder, 1990). But the most ‘‘mental’’ of actors, such as the mathematician or the philosopher, are incarnate beings; and thinking itself is a deeply corporeal activity, as the ‘‘embodied cognition’’ movement is now showing from within cognitive science (Shapiro, 2011). References Akram S (2013) Fully unconscious and prone to habit: The characteristics of agency in the structure and agency dialectic. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 43(1): 45–65. Boltanski L (2003) Usages faibles, usages forts de l’habitus. In: Encrevé P and Lagrave R-M (eds) Travailler avec Bourdieu. Paris: Flammarion, 153–161. Boudon R (1998) Social mechanisms without black boxes. In: Hedström P and Swedberg R (eds) Social Mechanisms: An Analytical Approach to Social Theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 172–203. Bourdieu P (1966) The sentiment of honour in Kabyle society. In: Peristiany J (ed.) Honour and Shame. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 191–221 (reprinted in Algeria 1960. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979). Bourdieu P (1984 [1979]) Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Bourdieu P (1990 [1980]) The Logic of Practice. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bourdieu P (1996 [1989]) The State Nobility: Elite Schools in the Field of Power. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bourdieu P (2000 [1997]) Pascalian Meditations. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bourdieu P and Passeron J-C (1977 [1970]) Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. London: Sage. Connell RW (1983) Which Way Is Up? Essays on Sex, Class and Culture. Sydney: George Allen and Unwin. 16 Body & Society 20(2) Desmond M (2007) On the Fireline: Living and Dying with Wildland Firefighters. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. DiMaggio P (1979) Review essay: On Pierre Bourdieu. American Journal of Sociology 84(6): 1460–1474. Elster J (1983) Sour Grapes: Studies in the Subversion of Rationality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Farrer DS and Whalen-Bridge J (eds.) (2012) Martial Arts as Embodied Knowledge: Asian Traditions in a Transnational World. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Harris M (2007) Ways of Knowing: Anthropological Approaches to Crafting Experience and Knowledge. New York: Berghahn. Herzfeld M (2003) The Body Impolitic: Artisans and Artifice in the Global Hierarchy of Value. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Jackson M (1995) At Home in the World. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. King A (2000) Thinking with Bourdieu against Bourdieu: A ‘practical’ critique of the habitus, Sociological Theory 18(3): 417–433. Leder D (1990) The Absent Body. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Liechty M (2002) Suitably Modern: Making Middle-class Culture in a New Consumer Society. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Marx K (1988 [1927]) Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. New York: Prometheus Books. Mears A (2011) Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. Merleau-Ponty M (2004 [1948]) The World of Perception. London: Routledge. Mouzelis N (2004) Sociological Theory: What Went Wrong? Diagnosis and Remedies. London: Routledge. Phemister P (2006) The Rationalists: Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz. Cambridge: Polity Press. Ryle G (2000 [1949]) The Concept of Mind. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Sanchez R and Spencer D (eds) (2013) Fighting Scholars: Carnal Ethnographies of Martial Arts and Combat Sports. London: Anthem Press. Searle JR (1992) The Rediscovery of the Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Wacquant 17 Searle J (2009) Making the Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization. New York: Oxford University Press. Shapiro L (2011) Embodied Cognition. New York: Routledge. Scheper-Hughes N and Lock MM (1987) The Mindful Body: A Prolegomenon to Future Work in Medical Anthropology. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 1(1): 6–41. Suaud C (1978) La Vocation. Conversion et reconversion des preˆtres ruraux. Paris: Minuit. Wacquant L (2004a) Body and Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer. New York: Oxford University Press. Wacquant L (2004b) Following Pierre Bourdieu into the field. Ethnography 5(4): 387–414. Wacquant L (2005) Carnal connections: On embodiment, apprenticeship, and membership. Qualitative Sociology 28(4): 445–474. Wacquant L (2009) The body, the ghetto and the penal state. Qualitative Sociology 32(1): 101–129. Wacquant L (2011) Habitus as topic and tool: Reflections on becoming a prizefighter. Qualitative Research in Psychology 8: 81–92. Loı̈c Wacquant is professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and researcher at the Centre européen de sociologie et de science politique, Paris. His work spans urban relegation, ethnoracial domination, the penal state, incarnation, and social theory and the politics of reason. His books have been translated in two dozen languages and include Body and Soul: Notebooks of An Apprentice Boxer (2004, new expanded edition, 2014), The Two Faces of the Ghetto (2014), and Tracking the Penal State (2014). For more information, see

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School: New York University



Apprenticeship on Cooking
Student name
Institution of Affiliation

Apprenticeship on Cooking
Knowledge is power, and since it is like air, no one should be denied to acquire it. The
saying of Alan Moore has been a driving force towards apprentice for many years. In other
words, students, as well as professionals, have been engaging in different apprenticeship
programs with the aim of gaining more Knowledge and power (Birrell Healy & Kinnaird, 2009).
Over my schooling life, cooking has been one of the significant challenges in life. My parents
had done all they could to ensure that I have gained the necessary tips for making a proper meal.
However, all their efforts, as well as long speeches, fell in deaf ears. But life if turning the other
way around. Being in college is so demanding, and I need to take some cooking class to save my
throat. Otherwise, frequent hunger pangs, as well as a shortage of funds for affording suitable
foods, is becoming a changeling each day. Thus, I chose to take an apprenticeship in a cooking
Cooking classes require professional chefs who add value to novices. There is no need of
taking apprenticeship classes and gain nothing. For this reason, I chose to do a cooking training
in the famous Cooking School in the city in an attempt of gaining more knowledge. In a normal
situation, the training takes a minimum period of three years for one to be a competent chef.
However, I don’t intend to be a chef. I only need to gain some critical tips for cooking a proper
meal. Therefore, I will take a maximum of three months to acquire the necessary knowledge of
cooking. The Cooking school has professional chefs who I intend to interact with as I learn how
to cook different meals (Sutton, 2006)
Increased Incidence of Obesity

Numerous research studies have been carried in the nation. Most of these studies aim at
exploring the ideas to begin the increased prevalence of obesity in the country. According to Xu
et al. (114), “Obesity has become an epidemic in the United States of America.” The condition is
detrimental as it puts people at high risk of developing serious lifestyle conditions such as
diabetes, heart diseases as well as cancer. According to the CDC, in 2015 and 2016, there were
more than 93.3 million adult people and 13.7 million children and teens that had clinical signs of
being obese. It is worth noting that obesity is defined as having a BMI that is 30 or more.

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Only issue was the guy's response time which was a bit long, which made me a bit anxious. Reached out to the help desk and they helped me out, turns out the tutors aren't all from US which meant there was a time difference. No issues on the quality.

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