CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Based upon ethnographic fieldwork in two boxing gyms located in lower class neighborhoods in France and in the United States, this article suggests that socialization in boxing partakes in a transmission of cultural capital. The social proximity between coaches and boxers facilitates the latter’s work of socialization, as they embark upon a process of transformation of the self that is indissolubly bodily and cultural. Conversely, the accumulation of cultural capital generates differentiated effects within the social spaces under scrutiny. Compared ethno- graphy sheds light on the convergences and divergences that characterize the constitutive principles driving the social stratification of lower class youth in France and in the United States. The analysis of the process of accumulation of cultural capital shows that the range of possible social destinies is different for boxers in the United States and in France: for the former, this process sustains real hopes of social and residential mobility; for the latter, it opens the way toward local status.

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