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Energy, Minds, and Muscle: The Frame of Social Cohesion in Bodybuilding

  • Author(s): Victoria Torres, Pablo
  • Advisor(s): Snow, David A.;
  • Hironaka, Ann
  • et al.

Based on participant observations and naturalistic interviews I conducted with male bodybuilders at two fitness clubs, I contribute to the literature on social cohesion and frame theory by conceiving of social cohesion as a frame that exists in two modalities: as the positive energy frame and as the negative energy frame. The positive energy frame characterizes social cohesion as the collective harmony that occurs when positive energy perceivers adhere to nonjudgmental, supportive, and celebratory interaction principles. The negative energy frame conceives of social cohesion as something that exists outside of negative energy perceivers in a community of haters (i.e. perceived envious others who are perceived as wishing for the downfall of the negative energy perceiver) that negative energy perceivers do not see themselves being a part of even though they themselves engage in the same negative behavior they criticize haters for. This results in a competitive and unfriendly environment where negative energy perceivers do not trust one another, thus perpetuating the negative energy frame. In addition, I introduce the mobile energy frame to describe the process whereby energy perceiving bodybuilders “take with them” the respective energy frame of their fitness club and use it to inform bodybuilding activities outside of it.

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