Informations and abstract
Keywords: habitus, libido, emotions, desire, deceit, symbolic economy
Backed by three years of apprenticeship in a Chicago ghetto boxing gym, as well as in-depth life-story interviews with fifty professional boxers, this article reconstructs the social biography and ring career of a professional «opponent» as a living analyzer of the social, economic, mental, and emotional cogs and wheels of prizefighting careers. An «opponent» like Jake «The Snake» Torrance is a boxer determined and skilled enough to give a good account of himself in the ring, but willing to travel for quick money and be overmatched to serve as a stepping stone in the careers of rising fighters. He fights pretty often, loses nearly as often, but maintains enough occupational pride to keep going, always hoping to turn his ship around, thus playing a key role in the pugilistic market. The article dissects the genesis, feeding, and fading of the libido pugilistica that explains his continued investment in the economy of pain, love, and deceit constituting professional boxing. It throws light on the material and symbolic logics of a skilled bodily craft and, in addition, on the workings of habitus as a cognitive cog, trained capacity and socialized desire.