Loic Wacquant, perhaps the only French sociologist who spent at least three years in the Woodlawn Gym in Chicago, Illinois, boxing with both amateurs and professionals, emerged from the experience strong, spry and of a mind to punch out some books and papers.
Wacquant is now a researcher at the Centre de Sociologie Européenne in Paris, and a professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley.
His book, Body Soul: Notebooks of an Apprentice Boxer, published in 2003 by Oxford University Press, serves up more than 200 pages of detail. Wacquant writes that, prior to entering “a boxing gym in a neighbourhood of Chicago’s black ghetto, I had never practised that sport or even considered trying it. I thus found myself in the situation of the perfect novice”. That was in 1988….
So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.