I Go, You Go: Searching for Strength and Self in the American Gym
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CitationKrupnick, Joseph Carney. 2016. I Go, You Go: Searching for Strength and Self in the American Gym. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis ethnography is based on 48 months of detailed participation, interviews, and observation with active gymgoers at three middle-class gyms in Chicago. It is a study of a particular social institution that, despite its explosion onto the mainstream cultural scene, has surprisingly eluded social-scientific inquiry. Demographically, the group that has been most caught up in the fitness movement are young, single, college-educated Americans living in large city centers. As a study of a particular social world, this research will examine the localized social world of the gym and its young male members, focusing on how their interactions get patterned into negotiated order. I focus on problems of motives, the role of language in an embodied world, the role of belief systems and forms of knowledge, and the function of rules and rituals in the making and maintenance of social order. I find that gymgoers, driven by a shared goal to become physically stronger and leaner, co-construct new selves and new forms of reality. Just as gymgoers attempt to transform their bodies so too do they craft new new ways of feeling, new presentations of self, new ideas, and new interaction rituals that are sui generis and irreducible to social background variables.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33493523
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