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Fighting for Recognition


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Prologue xiii
Introduction 1
1. The Indies 9
2. Fighting for a Pop: Wrestler Recognition 37
3. Passion Work: The Coordinated Production of Emotional Labor 62
4. "In Real Life I'm a Total Homophobe": Wrestlers Managing the Male Gaze 89
5. Pain in the Act 115
Conclusion 147
Appendix A. How It Began 155
Appendix B. Rage Wrestlers/Participants 167
Notes 171
References 197
Index 211

About the Author

R. Tyson Smith is Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Brown University.


"Behind the hypermacho performance of pro wrestling, R. Tyson Smith reveals a backstage where hard aggressive bodies are actually soft and yielding, hypersensitive as lovers so that they don't cripple each other. It is more akin to ballet than battle, except that all the effort goes into giving the opposite impression. This is one of the great ethnographies of the backstage of occupations, of athletes, of show business, of the bodily self - and of social performance itself." "To know only the flamboyantly hypermasculine spectacle of WWE is like believing that a Broadway musical represents America's love of theatre. R. Tyson Smith's carefully rendered empathic ethnography reveals the oft-hidden world of everyday guys who do it all - the exacting choreographed routines, the grandiose costumes - because they love it. Yet underneath the artifice of fake combat lie real dangers and constant injury. These guys are, as Smith says, 'fighting for recognition,' yes, but they are also playing for real."

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