By Professor Roberta Sassatelli
This book provides a sociological point of view on health tradition as built in advertisement gyms, investigating the cultural relevance of gyms when it comes to the background of the commercialization of physique self-discipline, the negotiation of gender identities and contrast dynamics inside modern cultures of intake.
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Additional resources for Fitness Culture: Gyms and the Commercialisation of Discipline and Fun
We thus get to the third reason why a focus on locally realised practical mechanisms is necessary: to grasp the power of the interaction order, its creative potential in the acquisition of specialised dispositions which may or may not concur with broader social boundaries. In contrast with this, Smith Maguire appears to choose a rather structuralist and functionalist option, which starts and concludes with class reproduction leaving very little space to explore, so to speak, what is going on in the middle, namely how ﬁtness training is practically organised and external habitus is actively and indeed creatively negotiated via lived ﬁtness The Cultural Location of Fitness Gyms 39 culture even in heavily commercialized settings.
Enjoyment” and “fun” are taken as a measure of the success of the gym – for example, ﬁve out of eight items in a major global chain’s Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire distributed in Britain in 2005 relate to pleasure, fun, involvement and enthusiasm, and the remaining three are on difﬁculty, safety and trainers’ attention. Fitness magazines in the USA, UK and Italy similarly stress that “having fun makes exercise more effective”; they are full of tips to help readers make every exercise session “fun and easy”, and suggest going to the gym with a partner or listening to one’s own favourite music.
My work starts from the consideration that most ﬁtness The Cultural Location of Fitness Gyms 35 centres attract both men and women, and to a degree they even ask them to work together, encouraging both to try different exercise techniques in order to vary and continuously innovate individual training (Chapters 2 and 6). As most of the commercial ﬁtness centres are mixed environments, it is important to address both men and women and the way they manage to share the gym space, partly reproducing, partly challenging received gender identities and differently engaging with the surreptitious sexualisation of their bodies (Chapter 3).