File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2001/bourdieu.0107, message 11

Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 14:51:46 -0400
Subject: Re: Wacquant on boxing

Dear Elisabeth Franck:
If you aren't aware of what " Wacquant all about"  I would recommend that you invest a bit of time and effort to find out. One thing that he is about is being a truly brilliant sociologist, who spent over four years in a South Chicago boxing gym, (becoming a boxer himself, fighting in an important golden gloves tournament, flying a group of American boxers to meet with their French counterparts, etc.) and conducting a meticulously detailed ethnographic study of  the gym, including over a hundred interviews with social actors at all levels of the "fight game", all the while empirically and analytically situating the gym within the larger socio-economic transformations of the black ghetto in American society. This work has been published in probably twenty or so articles, in addition to the book, the English edition of which is forthcoming. His more recent work on the practice of penology in the U.S. and its relationship to racial and class exploitation, (examples of which can be read in various editions of LeMonde Diplomatique, as well as a forthcoming issue of ACTES de recherche en sciences sociales ) is just as promising. If you read his work you will see that there are good reasons why Wacquant is Bourdieu's main collaborator (TOWARD A REFLEXIVE SOCIOLOGY is only the best known example) for he is as good and as original a practioner of Bourdieu's theoretical method as there is in the world, producing fresh and original insights about social life in the U.S. and France. 

More important than the fact that he has been fully anointed by the dominant scientific establishments in the US (including McArthur, Harvard, U. of Chicago, Russell Sage foundation, UC Berkeley, etc.) is the fact that in contrast too many other successful academics that we have all known, he has not wavered in the slightests from a radical social criticism of the structures and practices of power. I don't wish this to imply that his work is somehow above criticism, for it certainly is not, but you asked "what Wacquant is about" and what I've tried to provide is one  important part. I recommend that you check him out.
Rick Fantasia

>>> 07/11/01 09:40PM >>>
Just stumbled across an article:

Franck, Elisabeth.  "The Pugilistic Professor", LINGUA FRANCA, July/Aug. 
2001, pp. 19-20.

This is a new item about Loic Wacquant's forthcoming book on boxing, based 
on his own participation in this "disport."  When intellectuals begin to 
find violence entertaining, I always sniff fascism in the works, but 
purportedly Lacquant's account does not romanticize its subject.  Allegedly 
his work is praised by Bourdieu.  However interesting this may be as an 
object of social science, I always have to wonder, what's in it for the 
people who participate in it?  What do you think Lacquant is all about?




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