Completed study from the Youth Justice Research Map - Fighting for Change: Narrative accounts on the appeal and desistance potential of boxing

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This doctoral research addresses the relationship between the sport of boxing and men’s desistance from violent crime. It examines how men make sense of violence as a result of participating in the sport, and how they subsequently rehearse and practice violence in their everyday lives both in and outside of the gym walls. Thirteen men were interviewed using Biographical Narrative Interviewing techniques as part of a six month ethnography in an inner-city boxing gym in the north of England. Three policy makers in the field of sport and desistance from crime, were also interviewed to ascertain whether or not they determined sport to be beneficial in promoting pro-social behaviour among adolescents.

The papers attached contribute to a discussion working in the field of criminology and youth crime, in particular those who are interested in sport, gender, and desistance from violence. The papers challenge previous work into the sport of boxing and desistance from violence, and therefore argues for a more nuanced approach, by incorporating more feminist epistemologies, and inclusive masculinities into this complex phenomenon. Drawing upon contemporary research, this work discusses prior literature on sport and desistance from violence, and further develops the concept of sport as a tool for reduction in violent youth crime.

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