The Individual Re-Formed

Joseph S. Alter

in The Wrestler's Body

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1992 | ISBN: 9780520076976
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912175 | DOI:
The Individual Re-Formed

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This chapter argues that wrestling casts the body in a particular light. Various regimens, in conjunction with certain symbolic structures, have the effect of building the body up to larger-than-life proportions. The regimentation to which the wrestler's body is subject does not produce a wholly disembodied pugilist such as might be the product of Western forms of discipline, where body is radically dissociated from mind, and where the rank-and-file individual is regarded as a mere machine. Since Hindu philosophy and practice does not make the same distinction between mind and body, the individual is not objectified in the same way when subject to various forms of discipline. As Narayan Singh pointed out, the first step of any exercise begins with the questioning the self, and proceeds along a direct path of regimentation to a subjective experience of self as whole and healthy.

Keywords: wrestling; body; regimentation; wrestler; mind; Hindu; philosophy; Narayan Singh; exercise; self

Chapter.  1550 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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