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‘We Are Burning Ourselves Up': Ethiopian Runners and Energetic Subjectivities

Crawley, Michael (2022) '‘We Are Burning Ourselves Up': Ethiopian Runners and Energetic Subjectivities.', Ethnos .


This article describes how energy, and the ‘condition’ of the runner, achieved through the successful management of energy, is understood as trans-bodily and social by Ethiopian long-distance runners. The way energy flows between people and the environment means it is deeply implicated in how people understand relational ethics. By describing both morally appropriate training sociality as well as instances of rupture, I argue that rather than seeing competitive pressure as driving atomisation, the notion of shared energy deepens athletes’ reliance on others. By bringing together literature on energy with debates about ethics I argue that in conditions of scarcity energetic concerns become relational issues in ways that are particularly important to theorise in a moment characterised by the pressures of an economy constrained by ecological and energetic limits. The notion of ‘energetic subjectivities’ can help us make sense of these challenges from the perspectives of those caught up in them.

Item Type:Article
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
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Publisher statement:© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:10 October 2022
Date of first online publication:08 September 2022
Date first made open access:10 October 2022

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