Dr Leo Hopkinson
Lecturer in Social Anthropology
|Lecturer in Social Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology|
I completed my PhD in social anthropology at the University of Edinburgh in 2019. I was then appointed as a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh (2018-19), adjunct Teaching Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Melbourne (2019), and LSE Fellow in Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science (2019-2021). I came to Durham as a Lecturer in Social Anthropology in September 2021.
I have worked for many years with boxing communities in Ghana, Canada and Scotland, and with athletes moving between West Africa and Western Europe. I have also conducted research with care workers and third sector organizations about their experiences of lockdown and pandemic responses.
I am an anthropologist of boxing, and sport more broadly. My research focuses on how athletes imagine and plan for the future in the context of unequal global sporting industries; the diverse forms that care takes in contexts of bodily breakdown and social strain; and the relationship between gender and sport. My work contributes to theoretical and empirical discussion across socio-cultural and medical anthropology, and sociology.
My book (Ring Dreams: violence, care and hope in an Accra boxing gym, in preparation) examines how Accra boxers forge meaningful relationships through a sport which takes a lasting toll on their health, and explores the forms their hopes and aspirations take in a global industry often loaded against them.
Recently, my research has examined how competition shapes social relationships and people’s sense of self. I am interested in what diverse forms of competition share – from competitions in sport, to those occurring in workplaces, religious spaces, markets, economic and development programs and elsewhere.
I have also recently become interested in the intersections between anthropology and the neurosciences, particularly in relation to Traumatic Brain Injuries (aka concussions) in sport. I am developing a project on emerging understandings of the relationships between sport and neuro-degenerative disease, and how this emergent knowledge is re-shaping dynamics of responsibility, care and profit in sporting industries.
- Ethics and Morality
- Place and Belonging
- Hope and Aspiration
Chapter in book
- Hopkinson, L. (2020). Being “The Best Ever”: Contradictions of immobility and aspiration for boxers in Accra, Ghana. In N. Besnier, D. G. Calabrò, & D. Guinness (Eds.), Sport, Migration, and Gender in the Neoliberal Age (176-194). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429423277
- Hopkinson, L. (2023). Boxing family: Theorising competition with boxers in Accra, Ghana. Critique of Anthropology, https://doi.org/10.1177/0308275X231202083
- Hopkinson, L. (2022). Only one Mayweather: a critique of hope from the hopeful. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 28(3), 725-745. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9655.13762
- Hopkinson, L., & Zidaru, T. (2022). Introduction: What Competition Does. Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice, 66(4), 1-25. https://doi.org/10.3167/sa.2022.660401
- House, L., & Hopkinson, L. (2021). 'Stay Home, Stay Safe': Proximity as Vitality and Vulnerability Under Lockdown. Medicine Anthropology Theory, 8(3), 1-29. https://doi.org/10.17157/mat.8.3.5143
- Hopkinson, L. (2015). Descartes’ shadow: boxing and the fear of mind-body dualism. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory, 5(2), 177-199. https://doi.org/10.14318/hau5.2.012