Introduction: Carnal ethnography as path to embodied knowledge
Within Japanese budo lies the pre-modern concept of bunbu ryodo. It refers to the ideal of a double path of development regarding the literary (bun) and martial (bu) skills of the samurai. Far from being uncontroversial, this kind of ideal was not lived up to in a balanced (or symmetrical) way by very many samurai. Normally, either bun ran over bu or conversely the bu dominated the bun. Fighting Scholars tries to catch, in a simple expression, the tension involved in this ostensible opposition between practice and ethos. Contributors to this volume emanate from the academe (bun) but, for varied reasons, they are also interested in the study of combat activities (bu). They are interested not only in the philosophical underpinnings of martial arts, but also in a hands-on, embodied analysis of the craft. They have all been seduced into the practice of martial arts or combat sports and concomitantly apply a social-scientific lens to such practices. This conjoining of thought and practice has been achieved through ethnography. That is also why habitus, best understood through ethnography (see Bourdieu 1977; Crossley 1995; Spencer 2009), is conceptually paramount, as it opens the gates to the promises and perils of what Wacquant calls ‘carnal sociology’ (Wacquant 2004a xiii; 2005a).
García, R.S. (Raúl Sánchez), & Spencer, D. (2012). Introduction: Carnal ethnography as path to embodied knowledge. In Fighting Scholars: Habitus and Ethnographies of Martial Arts and Combat Sports (pp. 1–18).