Based on two-year ethnography of boxe popolare—a style of boxing codified by Italian leftist grassroots groups—and participant observation of a palestra popolare in an Italian city, the article purports to (a) deepen understanding of the nexus between physical cultures and politics and (b) contribute to understanding the renewal of political cultures by overcoming the disembodied perspectives on ideology. The first section of the paper tracks down the relation that ties boxing to the sociocultural matrix of the leftist grassroots groups. Boxing draws its significance from the antagonistic culture of the informal political youth organisations in which the practice is embedded and reflects the main changes that have been occurring in the collective action repertoires of the street-level political forces over the past few decades. The second section analyses the daily activities of boxe popolare. The paper thereby demonstrates how training regimes manipulate the bodies to inculcate a set of corporeal postures and sensibilities inherent to a mythology of otherness peculiar to the far-left ethos. In conclusion, the lived experience of boxe popolare addresses the importance of placing the situated practices and the socialised body at the centre of the study of political cultures in the contemporary post-ideological era.
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