This book explores the lived experiences of boxers in a French banlieue, largely populated by people from working-class and immigrant backgrounds. Jérôme Beauchez, who joined in the men's daily workouts for many years, analyzes the act of boxing as a high-stakes confrontation that extends well beyond the walls of the gym. Exploring the physical and existential realities of combat, the author provides a multifaceted "thick description" of this world and shows that the violence faced by the gym's members is not so much to be found in the ring as in the adversity of everyday racism and social exclusion. Boxing can therefore be understood as an act of resistance that is about more than simply fighting an opponent and that reflects all the existential struggles facing these men who are both stigmatized and socially dominated by race and class.
Jérôme Beauchez is Associate Professor of sociology and anthropology at the Université de Lyon/Saint-Etienne, France, and a researcher at the Centre Max Weber and the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research on Social Issues.