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Muhammad Ali: Trickster in the Culture of Irony

ISBN: 978-0-7456-2870-7
224 pages
October 2003, Polity
Muhammad Ali: Trickster in the Culture of Irony (0745628702) cover image
This absorbing book unravels the reasons for the enduring respect and reverence that Muhammad Ali commands long after the end of his athletic career. It will appeal to those teaching and studying cultural studies, social theory, sports studies, and sociology, as well as to general readers interested in Muhammad Ali.

  • A probing account of Muhammad Ali’s life, which also examines the man’s celebrity and his importance in global history.
  • The first book to unravel the reasons for the enduring respect and reverence that Muhammad Ali commands long after the end of his athletic career.
  • Traces the key controversies and significant events, from Ali's first announcement of his membership in the Nation of Islam, through his courageous refusal to fight in Vietnam, to his spiritual calm in the face of crippling disease.
  • Offers an original and compelling theory of the celebrity in postmodern society.
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1. From the Beginnings : GG is Gonna Whip Everybody.

2. Celebrity, Tricks, and Culture: Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a Bee.

3. Trickster Queers the World: I Don’t Have to Be What You Want Me to Be.

4. The Irony of Global Cultures: No Viet Cong ever Called me Nigger.

5. Coming Home to the Heart of Darkness: When we were Kings.

6. Trickster Bodies and Cultural Death: You’ll Die One Day So Better Get Ready.

Ali and the World: A Chronology.

Notes.

Acknowledgments.

Index.

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Charles Lemert is Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan University.
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  • A probing account of Muhammad Ali’s life, which also examines the man’s celebrity and his importance in global history.
  • The first book to unravel the reasons for the enduring respect and reverence that Muhammad Ali commands long after the end of his athletic career.
  • Traces the key controversies and significant events, from Ali's first announcement of his membership in the Nation of Islam, through his courageous refusal to fight in Vietnam, to his spiritual calm in the face of crippling disease.
  • Offers an original and compelling theory of the celebrity in postmodern society.
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"A brilliant meditation on celebrity and spectatorship and an astute cultural analysis of race and sport, Charles Lemert's Muhammad Ali is also an affectionate biography of one of the most significant figures of our age." Barry Glassner, University of Southern California, author of The Culture of Fear

"Ali's fame was launched on the tide of his astonishing athletic prowess, but it was borne along by the spurting cross-currents of culture, race and politics which boiled so fiercely during the 1960s and 1970s. Lemert is excellent on Ali in relation to these cross-currents, but he also dares to dive deeper, into the secret waters of myth, totem and taboo which still underlie more of human thought and feeling than we may like to admit … This is a remarkably interesting and re-readable essay." Financial Times

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Muhammad Ali: Trickster in the Culture of Irony (US $69.95)

-and- The Culture of Markets (US $22.95)

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