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Fighting for Recognition: Identity, Masculinity, and the Act of Violence in Professional Wrestling
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Fighting for Recognition: Identity, Masculinity, and the Act of Violence in Professional Wrestling

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  11 ratings  ·  4 reviews
In Fighting for Recognition, R. Tyson Smith enters the world of independent professional wrestling, a community-based entertainment staged in community centers, high school gyms, and other modest venues. Like the big-name, televised pro wrestlers who originally inspired them, indie wrestlers engage in choreographed fights in character. Smith details the experiences, meanin ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 19th 2014 by Duke University Press Books (first published January 1st 2014)
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Steven Logan
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
It's one of the better academic takes on professional wrestling.
Oliver Bateman
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
pros: best study to date of pro wrestling praxis. detailed fieldwork by well-trained ethnographer who knows all the "big names" of ethnography like the back of his not-at-all-calloused hand. extremely good sections on pain and homophobia; eye-opening, in fact. points i'd never considered in those two areas. very useful appendix and footnotes.

cons: author is admittedly not knowledgeable about pro wrestling save the generic "watched it at dad's growing up" stuff that everybody says to me; book is
Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really fast read, and very insightful. Great examination of the tensions indie pro wrestlers have to confront as they manage the public display of toughness with the collaborative and intimate work that is needed to stage a wrestling match. Smith does a very nice job extending Arlie Hocschild's classic work on emotional labor, by taking that concept to the wrestling wring. Very nice appendix on the methodological challenges of doing research like this in the field. Makes me wish I taught an unde ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this book from the perspective of a pro wrestling fan and a (former) academic and recommend it for anyone looking for more insight into what motivates indie wrestlers. One of my biggest gripes with academic writing is that it's often too dense. Not so with this book. It was a quick, entertaining read.

As a wrestling fan, many of the themes addressed in this book were not new to me, but it pushed me to think more about how wrestlers (indie or not) interact with each other. I also enjoyed th
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R. Tyson Smith is Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brown University. He is the author of Fighting for Recognition: Identity, Masculinity, and the Act of Violence in Professional Wrestling.