BOXING IN THE BLACK GHETTO
Laurie Taylor hears the story of Busy Louie or how Loïc Wacquant, a French white middle-class sociologist, became a boxer in one of Chicago’s most impoverished black ghettos.
As a young researcher Loïc Wacquant arrived in Chicago to study the transformation of the city’s ghettos in the post-war era. He joined a local boxing gym since as an ethnographer he wanted to get as close as possible to the lives of those he intended to study.
What he hadn’t bargained for was the powerful call of the ring! The ethnographer rapidly metamorphosed into a slugger called Busy Louie and his immersion was so complete that he came close to abandoning academia.
Now a Distinguished University Professor at the New School for Social Resarch, Professor of Sociology at the University of California-Berkeley and Researcher at the Centre de sociologie européenne-Paris, Loïc Wacquant reflects on how this particular world offered an alternative to the deadly streets outside its walls, his own depression at leaving it behind and discusses what we learn by living through, and on, our bodies.
New School for Social Research
University of California at Berkeley
Centre de Sociologie Européenne
Collège de France
52, rue du Cardinal-Lemoine
Body & Soul: Notebooks of an apprentice boxer
Oxford University Press
In Memoriam DeeDee Armour, boxing trainer extraordinaire
Ethnography, the international and interdisciplinary journal
Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales
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