The Dialectic of Freedom and Discipline: an Examination of the Fitness Filed
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Adam Mickiewicza in Poznań
Publication date: 2018-09-26
Polish Sociological Review 2018;203(3):345–358
The article aims to examine how fitness centres fall in line with the reflexive project of the self and active policy of choice. Such a perspective makes the gym a contradictory category involved in a number of individualand social processes connected with freedom and discipline, control and pleasure or work and leisure.Drawing on qualitative research I wanted to see how the interviewees used the term fitness, how it related to their everyday life, what sort of commitments and responsibility it elicited and the implications arising thereof, and to explore the ambivalence based on a complex interplay of tension and release in fitness.Through the empirical discussion, I show that the reflective attitude is rarely a matter of choice, but rathera result of pressure or social-cultural obligations. Self-discipline as an element of fitness gives the illusion of being causative in the sense that it is strongly entangled with expert knowledge systems.