The Legacy of Pankration: Mixed Martial Arts and the Posthuman Revival of a Fighting Culture
2013 (English)In: The international Journal of Combat Martial Arts and Sciences ICMAUA, Vol. 13, no 5, 40-57 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This article is based on fieldwork conducted over several years with deep participant observation in a mixed martial arts (MMA) club. The study uses the concept of cultural performativity to analyze the close relationship between MMA and the ancient sport of Pankration. Informed by social scientific ideas assembled from what is generally known as the performative turn in cultural theory, and advancing a notion of the posthuman, I explore the bodily performances of MMA fighters engaged in combat fighting. In terms of the violence represented in MMA, the article asks what knowledge has been integrated from the legacy of Pankration and what impact it has had on contemporary cultures and societal norms. The explicit goal of the training sites is to recode the body, increasing the somatic potential to affect, and to be affected. Practitioners (or researchers) of martial arts must immerse themselves in an entire world of meaning, that is, a new cosmological order composed of movement, senses, emotions, fluidity and inter-subjectivity. Therefore, this article provides a philosophical account of MMA, in which I briefly touch on epistemological and ontological questions related to the legacy of Pankration in our time. Finally, in conversational deep interviews, I discuss fighters’ views on the subject.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 13, no 5, 40-57 p.
Posthuman, Materiality, Fighting, Ancient, Pankration, MMA
Research subject Ethnology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-107585OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-107585DiVA: diva2:848290