Call for Papers | Fighting Boxing’s Narratives, Edited Collection for Routledge | Call ends June 11, 2021

We would like to invite abstracts for chapters to be included in our edited collection, Fighting Boxing’s Narratives. We intend to submit the proposal to Routledge in July 2021. The editors at Routledge have expressed initial interest in the project. We welcome abstracts from any disciplinary background. We actively encourage submissions from contributors from the Global South. Abstracts of 300-500 words should be submitted by June 11, 2021, to Solomon Lennox at: solomon.lennox@northumbria.ac.uk. Further information is outlined below. Please contact either of the editors for informal enquiries:

Fighting Boxing’s Narratives 

Boxing is understood through a set of pervasive and powerful narratives that are insufficiently challenged in popular and academic encounters with the sport. This volume invites a multidisciplinary approach to respond to this dilemma. Analysing and fighting the narratives through which the sport of boxing is understood is crucial on account of the relationship between these stories and the formation of an individual’s narrative identity. In 1992, ethnographer Loïc Wacquant outlined the narrative misconceptions associated with boxing, wherein boxers are understood as:

rugged, near-illiterate young men who, raised in broken homes and deprivation, manage single-handedly to elevate themselves from the gutter to fame and fortune, parlaying their anger at the world and sadomasochistic craving for violence into million-dollar purses, save for those who, ruthlessly exploited by callous managers and promoters alike, end up on the dole with broken bones and hearts. (Wacquant 1992, p. 222)

Almost three decades later, Crews and Lennox (2020) argued that these misconceptions remain and it is through the lens of these narrative myths that boxing is understood in the public press and scholarly studies. The narrative myths supporting boxing matter because they shape the types of narrative identities available to those who engage with boxing. They determine the value and stigma associated with the sport and its participants, and importantly, determine who is represented in the stories told about boxing, in the identity of the boxer. These narrative myths not only control the types of narrative identities available to boxers but also perform structural mechanisms determining which types of bodies can identify as a boxer. The pool of narratives that support the sport, the narrative resources of boxing, are many, but limited and limiting. This volume interrogates the established narrative resources of boxing in a bid to present a more varied set of resources through which the sport is understood. As ethnographer John Sugden argues, the ‘role of “boxer” [is] absolutely central to a fighter’s sense of who he is and the ring the main stage for his character display’ (Sugden 1996, p. 53 emphasis added). Therefore, increasing the pool of stories and perspectives on boxing is important, because it increases the visibility of what it means to be a boxer and for whom this identity is available, it also increases the resources through which variants of this identity can be performed.

We ask contributors to this collection to critically examine the narrative misconceptions and tropes of boxing (as outlined by Wacquant above and in Crews and Lennox 2020), to expand the narrative resources of the sport by drawing upon diverse disciplinary perspectives on the sport. We invite multidisciplinary approaches where boxing is considered in the broadest sense. This may include, but is not limited to:

      • The sport of boxing (amateur or professional)
      • Contemporary boxing
      • Boxing Futures
      • The cultural history of boxing
      • Representations of boxing:
        • On stage
        • On-screen
        • In performance art
        • In art more broadly
        • In works of fiction
      • The sociology of boxing
      • Boxing and medicine
      • Boxing and technology
      • Boxing and social media
      • Boxing and the law
      • Boxing in print

Indicative Questions

      • How are structures of oppression upheld or challenged through fictitious representations of boxing?
      • What are the tensions between the narrative misconceptions of the sport and the embodied experience of its participants (specifically intersectional embodied experiences)?
      • To what extent does the imprint of the ideologies of modernity projects and development theory haunt the narrative resources of boxing?
      • How does existing scholarship on boxing treat and understand boxers and boxing bodies on account of the narrative misconceptions?
      • How does the popular press uphold or challenge narrative myths?
      • To what extent does engaging with alternative histories of boxers/boxing allow us to challenge the dominant narratives that are perpetuated in popular and scholarly versions of the sport?
      • In what ways does social media provide space for alternate and diverse narrative resources to be performed?
      • What are the future possibilities for boxing?

Timeframes

If successful, we will work towards the following deadlines:

February 25, 2022, completed chapters to be submitted for peer review.
May 20, 2022, Edits and comments returned to authors.
August 19, 2022, Final revisions back from authors.
February 2023, target publication date.

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