Authored by: Mel Jordan , Edward J. Wright , Aimie Purser

The Routledge Companion to Health Humanities

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138579903
eBook ISBN: 9780429469060
Adobe ISBN:


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Capoeira can be defined as a Brazilian martial art and game to be played. This research explored how capoeira play might be considered to facilitate connectedness among newly recruited persons, plus any other ramifications of capoeira involvement. A beginners’ course of capoeira was provided in an English city in the West Midlands. One-hour capoeira classes ran weekly, free of charge, for participants. Researchers attended classes to collect/construct overt non-participant observation data. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with the new capoeiristas after the course. Capoeira can be argued to concurrently facilitate mutuality (e.g., community experience and group work) and egoism (e.g., an individual’s identity work). Newcomers to this practice of capoeira negotiated the bodily requirements of capoeira and how this produced not only sweat, but also smiles and laughter, plus elements beyond this bodily-togetherness itself during the class (e.g., narrated health ramifications). What is novel here is that there are two forms to this health narrative. Health reasons are both reactionary (e.g., weight loss required) and proactive (e.g., desire for cardiovascular workout); capoeira as practicing health at two levels: a future-focused level and a contemporary-response level.

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