Sports practices under tension

Mixed Martial Arts

Exploratory research
(led by Yan Dalla Pria)
At this stage, this research project, still in its exploratory phase, consists in collecting empirical data related to the modalities and conditions of development of an emerging sports practice, the MMA (free fight), simultaneously characterised by drastic limitations in its rules and a high degree of violence. These data will make it possible to trace the controversial history of free fight from its origins to its present version (called MMA or Mixed Martial Arts).
In particular, this project will lead us to analyse the dialectic relation between rules and violence in sports activities (Elias, Dunning, 1994 [1986]). Besides, we intend to analyse the emergence of this practice as presenting a possible homology (Panofsky, 1967) between the path of development followed by free fight and that of liberal globalisation.
During the phase of data analysis, these studies will contribute to collaborations with other teams privileging different and complementary approaches to MMA or other emerging sports practices.

Retraining of circus artists and dancers


Jobs involved with live entertainment and more specifically with performing artists are often represented as activities that people engage into because of a “calling” or a “passion” for them, but which are particularly difficult to sustain over time. This situation is exacerbated in the case of choreographic and circus artists: at the intersection between the worlds of art and sport, their activities demand a “body and soul” dedication which exposes them to specific hazards and, as a consequence, like top-athletes, they often have to retrain sooner or later. Now leaving the stage behind is not an easy step to make. Retraining arouses many painful issues for artists, from the necessary “bereavement” of their calling to the difficult conditions of access to further training which will help them find a job, to the means of financing this transition. In order to bring new light to this theme, our research intends to make a comparative analysis between choreographic artists who already benefit from “retraining” measures (CND, AFDAS, etc.) and circus artists trained in professional schools, the first generation of whom are now reaching the end of their careers.
At the conceptual level, the point of this research is to articulate the contributions of a public-action sociology and a career-path sociology. On the one hand, we will observe the lists of actions, the modes of operation and coordination of the public and private actors implicated in the existing support systems, but also their results. In this case, the challenge will be to analyse to what extent the measures under study are different from those concerning the majority of individuals engaged in finding new employment. On the other, we will investigate the social differentiation of the “retraining” mechanisms when carried out in both sectors. It will be important to understand the relation artists develop with the support and assistance of measures for “retraining”, but also the way the family and relational network is used as a resource. This research will be carried out over three years within the framework of the ANR project entitled “Leaving the stage. Support measures and social path of choreographic and circus artists in a professional transition period”. This programme coordinated by Samuel Julhe (LACES, University Bordeaux Segalen) groups together ten researchers in social science from six universities.



Updated on 17 décembre 2014