The signification of the body: a sociological field study of body-building and fitness practitioners


SPORT IN SOCIETY, vol.26, no.5, pp.774-798, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/17430437.2022.2063120
  • Journal Name: SPORT IN SOCIETY
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, CAB Abstracts, Political Science Complete, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, SportDiscus, Veterinary Science Database, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.774-798
  • Keywords: Signification of the body, aesthetic asceticism, bodybuilding, physical culture, fitness, SOCIAL-CLASS, APPEARANCE CULTURE, ADOLESCENT GIRLS, IMAGE, PARTICIPATION, NARCISSISM, BEHAVIORS, MOBILITY, GENDER, BEAUTY
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


The signification of the body is essentially the process in which the body is assigned a value and meaning by its appearance and this appearance significantly determines the existential justification of the individual. In this study, the process of body signification of individuals engaged in bodybuilding and fitness was analyzed by using ethnography. The results demonstrate that the body is significated through working-out, which has ontological consequences for the individual.The appearance of the body constitutes an important part of an individual's self and his/her world of meaning. With the signification of the body, while the intrinsic assumptions of class, gender, consumption, and sexuality are reconstructed, they become more blended and operationalized. Individuals tend to lead an ascetic life to achieve the ideal body. All this process takes place in compliance with and adherence to the principles of instrumental rationality.