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Fast-track fisticuffs? An ethnographic exploration of time and white-collar boxing

Wright, Edward J.


Edward J. Wright


Whilst white-collar boxing at first appears to be named according to the social class of its practitioners, this paper will argue that this initial appearance is misleading. Based on the analysis of 32 interviews and six months of ethnographic data collection at a boxing club in the English Midlands, it argues that white-collar boxers do not recognise the classed connotations of the term white-collar, to which sociologists tend to be accustomed. Within this lifeworld, white-collar has become a temporal signifier, referring to a version of the sport in which participation is for beginners and limited to eight weeks, culminating in a public boxing match in front of a large crowd. This eight-week participation model is outlined and identified as being drastically different from other forms of boxing, which are emblematic of modernity. White-collar boxing therefore provides entry into a wider discussion on the social construction of time. Acceleration and condensation of time are routinely discussed in this field, and it is suggested that a conceptual split between condensed and accelerated time allows for this white-collar boxing to be understood. Ultimately, white-collar boxing is theorised as the condensed reproduction of the idealised career of the professional boxer.


Wright, E. J. (2018). Fast-track fisticuffs? An ethnographic exploration of time and white-collar boxing. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 101269021881513.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 31, 2018
Online Publication Date Nov 29, 2018
Publication Date Nov 29, 2018
Deposit Date Dec 18, 2018
Publicly Available Date Aug 1, 2019
Journal International Review for the Sociology of Sport
Print ISSN 1012-6902
Electronic ISSN 1461-7218
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 101269021881513
Keywords acceleration; boxing; embodiment; ethnography; time; white-collar
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