Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 445–474

Carnal Connections: On Embodiment, Apprenticeship, and Membership



This article responds to the special issue of Qualitative Sociology devoted to the author's book, Body and Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer (vol. 28, no. 3, summer 2005). Four themes are tackled: the positioning of the inquirer and the question of social acceptance and membership; the dynamics of embodiment(s) and the variable role of race as a structural, interactional, and dispositional property; the functioning of the boxing gym as miniature civilizing and masculinizing machine; apprenticeship as a mode of knowledge transmissioin and technique for social inquiry, the scope of carnal sociology, and the textual work needed to convey the full-color texture and allure of the social world. This leads to clarifying the conceptual, empirical, and rhetorical makeup of Body and Soul in relation to its triple intent: to elucidate the workings of a sociocultural competency residing in prediscursive capacities; to deploy and develop the concept of habitus as operant philosophy of action and methodological guide; and to offer a brief for a sociology not of the body (as social product) but from the body (as social spring and vector of knowledge), exemplifying a way of doing and writing ethnography that takes full epistemic advantage of the visceral nature of social life.


boxing embodiment habitus membership apprenticeship black American ghetto viscerality writing reflexivity autoethnography carnal sociology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeley

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