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Fighting is the Most Real and Honest Thing': Violence and the Civilization/Barbarism Dialectic

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 53 Issue: 3 Dated: May 2013 Pages: 357-377
John J. Brent; Peter B. Kraska
Date Published
March 2013
21 pages
This study examines the activity of 'cage-fighting'.
Over the past two decades, the activity of 'cage-fighting' has attracted massive audiences and significant attention from media and political outlets. Underlying the spectacle of these mass-consumed events is a growing world of underground sport fighting. By offering more brutal and less regulated forms of violence, this hidden variant of fighting lies at the blurry and shifting intersection between licit and illicit forms of recreation. This paper offers a theoretical and ethnographic exploration of the motivations and emotive frameworks of these unsanctioned fighters. The authors found that buried within the long-term process towards greater civility rest the seeds for social unrest, individual rebellion and ontological upheaval. By revealing the dialectical relationship between contemporary mechanisms of control and these uncivil performances, the authors argue these transgressions are a visceral reaction to today's highly rationalized modes of state and social governance. More broadly, the authors attempt to understand the interrelationship between contemporary controls and sport fighting as a microcosm of the long-running struggle between civility and barbarism. (Published Abstract)