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Fight the biopower! Mixed martial arts as resistance

Sugden, J (2021) Fight the biopower! Mixed martial arts as resistance. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. ISSN 1012-6902

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Globally, mixed martial arts (MMA) has seen a staggering level of growth in participation and fandom over the past 20 years. This paper presents the results from an immersive participant ethnography of an urban MMA gym in England’s North West and the experience of some of its members. Emergent is that the practices of MMA can be viewed as acts of resistance against neoliberal norms and expectations that permeate the diverse yet everyday lives of participants outside the gym’s walls. This paper applies the sociological imagination of and through the body and draws from the Foucauldian notion of biopower to discuss how, in the search for athletic solidarity, an authentic community is built and maintained around this transgressive pursuit. It is evident that a diverse range of individuals are making and remaking a space in which neoliberal norms, labels and expectations are rejected in favour of a renewed connection with the body and each other.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1504 Commercial Services, 1608 Sociology, 2002 Cultural Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV561 Sports
Divisions: Business & Management (from Sep 19)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Date Deposited: 02 Aug 2021 12:22
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2022 11:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1177/10126902211039772
Editors: Sugden, J
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/15338
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