Sociology of Literature and Sports: The Criticism of Modern (Capitalist) Sports In The Short Story “A Piece of Steak” by Jack London

Like most of his works Jack London, a socialist working-class writer, adopts a critical approach in his sports-themed works. His novels and short stories concern the capitalist sports system and the competitive structure of modern sports, which began to be institutionalized in the early twentieth century, through a socialist point of view. His short story “A Piece of Steak”, which presents a section from the life of an aging boxer, is one of those works. In this study, the aforementioned short story has been analyzed through the sociology of literature. Social facts pointed out through the literary text about the life struggle of a boxer by Jack London and sociological themes related to inequalities and social conflicts have been put forward. Getting old, which means poverty, hunger, and exclusion from the social system for a professional boxer is the main theme of the story. The association of capitalism and sports, competitive market values, social inequalities, oppressed classes, poverty, and alienation are depicted through the lifestyle of a boxer in the work. The narration of modern sports, which stands out with its entertainment characteristics, as a social reality dependent on capitalist mechanisms is presented through a sports worker. In the final analysis, sports find a place as a social field that reflects and reproduces the social reality, conflicts, and the economic logic of its society in the literary text in which London displays his critical approach.

Anahtar Kelimeler
Old age, modern sports, literature, capitalism, working-class, poverty