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

Wright, E.J. ORCID: 0000-0002-1774-4191, 2020. Fast-track fisticuffs? An ethnographic exploration of time and white-collar boxing. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 55 (4), pp. 437-452. ISSN 1012-6902

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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.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: International Review for the Sociology of Sport
Creators: Wright, E.J.
Publisher: Sage
Date: 1 June 2020
Volume: 55
Number: 4
ISSN: 1012-6902
Rights: © The Author(s) 2018. article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 24 Jun 2020 14:15
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:19

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