1st Edition

Contemporary Meanings of Endurance An Interdisciplinary Approach

Edited By Noel Salazar, Jeroen Scheerder Copyright 2023

    This book critically analyses the concept of endurance from different theoretical, conceptual, methodological, and empirical perspectives.

    The first part of the book takes a closer look at endurance, by examining how it relates to concepts such as resilience, perseverance, and perdurance. By analysing how these concepts overlap but differ, we reach a better understanding of what constitutes endurance. Furthermore, endurance is reconfigured as a as a mundane aspect of everyday life. The latter part of the book focuses on embodied experiences of endurance, more specifically on endurance running, walking, and (physical) performances. The different contributions focus on the meanings, values, and attributes that people ascribe to endurance in various socio-cultural contexts. The book uncovers practices, environments, and discourses in which endurance is applied and manifested, from drought-affected communities in rural Australia to professional endurance runners in Ethiopia as well as migrants in Greece and performance acts in domestic spaces in the United Kingdom and beyond.

    This book will be of interest to scholars of movement sciences, sports studies, mobilities, leisure studies, and resilience studies.

    Introduction. Endurance as an Analytical Concept and a Lived Experience: A Transdisciplinary Exploration

    Noel B. Salazar

    Jeroen Scheerder

    1. On Endurance: The Politics of Being Between Pain and Boredom

    Julian Reid

    2. The Stubborn Habits of Migration: Self-Care as Endurance

    Debbie Lisle

    3. Traversing Terrain and Staying Put: Performing Endurance

    Victoria Hunter

    4. Endurance in the Australian Wheatbelt: ‘Drought Makes Who We Are’

    Deb Anderson

    5. Endurance and the Production of ‘Endurance Work’ in Women’s Cross-Country and Trail Running

    Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson

    Patricia C. Jackman

    6. Neoliberal Meanings of Endurance Experiences: A Critical Exploration of Endurance Running in Contemporary Consumer Culture

    Carys Egan-Wyer

    7. Unpacking Contemporary Notions of Endurance Through the Lens of Ultra-Trail Running and Walking

    Eilis Lanclus

    8. Enduring Influence: The Work of Social Media for Elite Endurance Athletes

    Michael Crawley


    Noel B. Salazar is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at KU Leuven, Belgium.

    Jeroen Scheerder is Professor of Sport Sociology at KU Leuven, Belgium.

    'It would be hard to imagine a more timely and provocative focus than the one this book takes for its own. By turns heart-breaking, humbling, mind-boggling, appalling, and even in instances awe-inspiring, the collection offers a vivid, multi-faceted, and profoundly ominous account of a human capacity on which the survival of our species may well come to depend above all others, and far sooner than we would care to imagine. Students and scholars of the anthropology of sport, in particular, will find this an informative, challenging read. However, the subject matter touches a far broader range of fields and debates, contributing significantly to them all.'

    Sally Ann Ness, University of California, Riverside

    'Human endurance, often connected to hardship, adversity, and misery, is also admired for acts of perseverance, resilience, resistance, and pushing one’s limits. In this book, the authors explore the multiple senses, meanings, and contexts of endurance as a mundane aspect of everyday life. Engaging, yet critical, the book addresses human endurance as an admired physical and psychological feat, but also a central aspect of the (Western) neoliberal, achievement society where it is an individual’s responsibility to ‘try hard,’ and bounce back from any set-backs. From deliberate acts of endurance running and perdurance in art to enduring such conditions as migrancy or drought, this book is a captivating read. Its diverse and wide-ranging content, written in a highly accessible scholarly manner, will appeal to multidisciplinary audiences fascinated by humans’ ability to keep going in differing cultural contexts.'

    Pirkko Markula, University of Alberta

    'This book is not something to be endured but to be savoured, slowly and fully. Touching on ideas about endurance that have themselves endured through the ages and emerged in new and contemporary ways, the authors apply endurance to conditions of life. This volume provides a variety of disciplinary approaches and multifaceted methodological probings of what it means to endure and what we mean by endurance. It is a welcome first exploration of a salient, driving value of modern life in its variegated permutations. The contributions to this volume are multiple and complex, multifaceted, like the meanings of endurance itself.'

    Thomas Carter, University of Brighton