Hugo Ceron-Anaya, “Privilege at Play: Class, Race, Gender, and Golf in Mexico” (Oxford UP, 2019)

Privilege at Play: Class, Race, Gender, and Golf in Mexico (Oxford University Press, 2019) is a book about inequalities, social hierarchies, and privilege in contemporary Mexico. Based on ethnographic research conducted in exclusive golf clubs and in-depth interviews with upper-middle-class and upper-class golfers, as well as working-class employees, Cerón-Anaya’s book focuses on the class, racial, and gender dynamics that underpin privilege. This study makes use of rich qualitative data to demonstrate how social hierarchies are relations reproduced through a multitude of everyday practices. The vast disparities between club members and workers, for example, are built on traditional class indicators, such as wealth, and on more subtle expressions of class, such as notions of fashion, sense of humour, perceptions about competition, and everyday oral interactions. The book incorporates race and gender perspectives into the study of inequalities, illustrating the multilayer condition of privilege. Although Mexicans commonly attributed racial relations a marginal role in the continuation of inequities, the book explains how affluent individuals frequently express racialized ideas to describe and justify the impoverished condition of workers. In doing so, Privilege at Play demonstrates the necessity of considering the role of racialized dynamics when studying social inequalities in Mexico. An analysis of gender relations shows how men maintain a dominant position over their fellow female golfers despite the similar upper-class origins of both male and female golf club members. This book pays particular attention to the spatial dynamics that reinforce social inequalities, arguing that the apparent triviality of space makes it a highly effective way to mark social inequalities and, hence, emphasise privilege.

Rituparna Patgiri, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi. She has a PhD in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Her research interests lie in the areas of food, media, gender and the public. She is also one of the co-founders of Doing Sociology. Patgiri can be reached at @Rituparna37 on Twitter.

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