Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

On white-collar boxing and social class

Wright, Edward

On white-collar boxing and social class Thumbnail


Edward Wright


This article is based on the first sociological research of white-collar boxing in the UK. Grounded in an ethnography of a boxing gym in the Midlands, the article argues that the term 'white-collar boxing' in this context is immediately misleading, and entails the term being used in a way with which sociologists are unaccustomed. Whereas white-collar boxing originated in the context of post-industrial New York City as a pastime only for the extremely wealthy, the situation in the UK is different. Participants actively reject this understanding of white-collar boxing. The term white-collar boxing does not signify the social class of participants, but refers to their novice status. Given that boxing is an example through which Bourdieu's theory of distinction is discussed, and that white-collar boxing is a distinctly late-modern version of the sport containing an erroneous class signifier, this version of the sport is a site through which such discussions of consumption can be furthered. Whilst consumed by actors in various class positions, a logic of distinction is present in white-collar boxing, which becomes recognisable through analysis of the 'plurality of consumption experiences'. This is proffered as a concept which can aid in the analysis of consumption beyond white-collar boxing.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 19, 2018
Online Publication Date Feb 7, 2019
Publication Date Feb 7, 2019
Deposit Date Jan 31, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jan 31, 2019
Journal Sociological Review
Print ISSN 0038-0261
Electronic ISSN 1467-954X
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Bourdieu; Consumption; Distinction; Ethnography; Social Class; Sport; White-collar Boxing
Public URL
Publisher URL


Downloadable Citations