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  • Theory Before Definition in Martial Arts Studies

    Paul Bowman

    Chapter from the book: Bowman, P. 2019. Deconstructing Martial Arts.

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    This chapter argues against all forms of scientism and the widespread perceived need to define martial arts in order to study martial arts or ‘do’ martial arts studies. It argues instead for the necessity of theory before definition, including theorisation of the orientation of the field of martial arts studies itself. Accordingly, the chapter criticises certain previous (and current) academic approaches to martial arts, particularly the failed project of hoplology. It then examines the much more promising approaches of current scholarship, such as that of Sixt Wetzler, before critiquing certain aspects of its orientation. Instead of accepting Wetzler’s ‘polysystem theory’ approach uncritically, the article argues instead for the values of a poststructuralist ‘discourse’ approach in martial arts studies.

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    Bowman, P. 2019. Theory Before Definition in Martial Arts Studies. In: Bowman, P, Deconstructing Martial Arts. Cardiff: Cardiff University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18573/book1.c

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    Published on June 24, 2019