Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





David C. Brotherton

Committee Members

Lynn Chancer

Lucia Trimbur

Kathryn Henne

Jayne Mooney

Subject Categories

Criminology | Gender and Sexuality | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology | Sociology of Culture | Sports Studies


physical culture, critical ethnography, carceral studies, masculinities, the hood, scopaesthesia, colonial gaze, racist imaginaries, counter-narrative


How do racialized men who reside in structurally marginalized locales that are putatively regarded as “the hood” navigate and manage their social conditions? This dissertation sheds light on this question by treating “street workout,” a physical culture centered around calisthenics exercises performed in public space, as an empirical site for generating a situated understanding of how some Black men assert themselves in social space at the same time that they are asserted upon by social forces. Taking an ethico-onto-epistem-ological stance that refuses the colonial gaze (a ubiquitously employed optic that dehumanizes racialized people), this dissertation asks: (1) What embodied practices does street workout consist of, and how do they develop out of particular carceral ways of life? (2) What meanings and ideologies are attached to street workout, and how are these connections made? (3) What subjectivities emerge from street workout, and how do those subjectivities then shape how street workout is practiced? Four years of ethnographic data are drawn from to show how some residents of a mass incarcerated community (i.e. the hood) use street workout as (1) a site of resilience, (2) a space for rebutting racist imaginaries, and (3) a place for constructing a masculine self. In a sentence, this dissertation is a critical ethnography of street workout in the hood.

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