Boxing is infused with ideas about masculinity, power, race and social class, and as such is an ideal lens through which social scientists can examine key modern themes. In addition, its inherent contradictions of extreme violence and beauty and of discipline and excess have long been a source of inspiration for writers and film makers.

Essential reading for anyone interested in the sociology of sport and cultural representations of gender, Boxing, Masculinity and Identity brings together ethnographic research with material from film, literature and journalism. Through this combination of theoretical insight and cultural awareness, Woodward explores the social constructs around boxing and our experience and understanding of central issues including:

  • masculinity
  • mind, body and the construction of identity
  • spectacle and performance: tensions between the public and private person
  • boxing on film: the role of cultural representations in building identities
  • methodologies: issues of authenticity and ‘truth’ in social science.

chapter Chapter 1|9 pages


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chapter Chapter 2|29 pages

Masculinity on the ropes?

Boxing and gender identities
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chapter Chapter 3|24 pages

Outside in, inside out

Routine masculinities
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chapter Chapter 4|28 pages

Boxing bodies and embodied masculinities

Size: 1.39 MB

chapter Chapter 5|30 pages

Public stories, personal stories

Heroes, celebrity and spectacle
Size: 3.46 MB

chapter Chapter 6|30 pages

When the going gets tough

Going to the movies
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chapter Chapter 7|8 pages


I Could Have Been A Contender
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