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The Wrestler's Body – Identity and Ideology in North India - California Scholarship Online
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The Wrestler's Body: Identity and Ideology in North India

Joseph Alter


This book tells the story of a way of life organized in terms of physical self-development. While Indian wrestlers are competitive athletes, they are also moral reformers whose conception of self and society is fundamentally somatic. Using the insights of anthropology, the book writes an ethnography of the wrestler's physique that elucidates the somatic structure of his identity and ideology. Young men in North India may choose to join an akhara, or gymnasium, where they subject themselves to a complex program of physical and moral fitness. The book's first-hand description of each detail of t ... More

Keywords: physical self-development, India, wrestlers, self, society, akhara, physical fitness, moral fitness, culture, moral reform

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 1992 Print ISBN-13: 9780520076976
Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012 DOI:10.1525/california/9780520076976.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Joseph Alter, author