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The Racing Tribe: Watching the Horsewatchers Paperback – 30 Nov 2005

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Paperback, 30 Nov 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Metro Books, London; New edition edition (30 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843581566
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843581567
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 880,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kate Fox, a social anthropologist, is Co-Director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford. Her work involves monitoring and assessing global sociocultural trends, and has included research, publications and broadcasts on many aspects of human behaviour including: social aspects of drinking, sex differences, flirting, body image, pub culture, gossip, eating, health issues, taboos, horseracing, mobile phones, email, stress, drugs, crime, violence and disorder. Her publications have included Pubwatching with Desmond Morris, Passport to the Pub: The Tourist's Guide to Pub Etiquette and The Racing Tribe: Watching the Horsewatchers. Kate is also an international consultant on the prevention and management of violence, and has written and produced training programmes and videos on the subject. She is co-author, with Dr Peter Marsh, of Drinking and Public Disorder.

Product Description


Delightful ... well worth a flutter. -- The Independent

Fabulous ... Quite enchanting ... sure to provide lots of enjoyment. -- The Racing Post

Fox is a social anthropologist - but this does not prevent her from writing like an angel. The book is a triumph. -- Sunday Express

Kate Fox consistently reveals us to ourselves. She is meticulous, illuminating and very funny indeed. -- Times Literary Supplement

Simply a small masterpiece. Mark our words. Miss Fox is the next big thing. -- The Express --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

The tribe
‘A delightful new way of looking at a familiar world – a wonderfully fresh approach to the pleasures of a day at the races’ Desmond Morris

Anthropologists are supposed to do their research in remote, uncomfortable, unpronounceable parts of the world - places with monsoons, mud-huts and malaria. Kate Fox was given an altogether more enjoyable assignment:- to study the arcane world of horseracing - the whole racing tribe, from race-goers, jockeys, trainers, bookies and stewards. An unexpected world is revealed from an entirely different perspective - instead of an amorphous racing crowd, Kate sees Enthusiasts, Horseys, Addicts, Anoraks, Socials, Pair-bonders, Suits and Be-seens. Among the racing professionals, she identifies Shamans and Warriors, Scribes and Elders, Connections and Sin-eaters.

Clad in appropriate tribal costume (frivolous hat, mini-skirt, high heels), Kate ventured where no ‘manwatcher’ had gone before – she spends time with each of these groups, finding out how to identify them from their dress, body-language and behavioural quirks; learning about their position in the social structure of the tribe, their attitudes and beliefs, their territories and habits.

The Racing Tribe is also a refreshingly candid account of anthropological fieldwork, including all the embarrassing mistakes, hiccups, short-cuts and guesswork that most social scientists keep very quiet about. Kate’s findings are fascinating in themselves, but the personal story of how she found them – trying to interview half-naked jockeys in weighing rooms; overcoming her fear of the big, scary trainer David Nicholson; struggling to understand the tribe’s strange dialect – gives this book an endearing human dimension.

Every kind of racegoer - armchair fans included - will be intrigued and entertained by this fascinating book; Kate Fox does for the racing world what Desmond Morris and David Attenborough have done for the animal kingdom --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Oct. 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book was a an absolute joy to read. As a lifelong racegoer, I had never given the slightest thought to the customs or rituals that go on at a racemeeting. The book is a relaxed and entertaining read, and Kate Fox writes in a humourous and self deprecating manner.
Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in horse racing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PD on 22 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
An anthropological study of racegoers that will any one of that crowd recognise themself (maybe), or others (certainly). It is accessible to pretty much anyone with a love of horse-racing, and makes gentle fun of anthropology. It does involve quite a bit of anthropological terminology, and is probably funnier if you had even passing knowledge of the field, but that doesn't get in the way of the accuracy of the observations, and the dry humour with which they are delivered.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was inspired by and contains an interesting conceit - scrutinising the various groups, trainers, jockeys and spectators and gamblers , in the sport of horse racing. But it becomes rather repetitious and actually the empirical content is limited.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Getting in touch with the author, Kate Fox 19 April 2000
By lee w richardson - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If Sally Baker would care to get in touch with me (my e-mail address is I would be happy to help her make contact with Kate Fox, the author of The Racing Tribe. I commissioned the original research project undertaken by Kate whilst I was marketing director at the British Horseracing Board, and from which the book came to be written. I can't, therefore, review with any real objectivity this book, as I am naturally biaised(!); safe to say it is a truly fascinating read, and successfully debunks various myths associated with horseracing and it's participants.
Mediocre, at best 1 Dec. 2009
By A Reader - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read Kate Fox's "Watching the English" some time ago, and it was excellent. Both funny and insightful, and a real joy to read. So, I bought a copy of "The Racing Tribe" with considerable anticipation. Alas, it was very disappointing. Tedious and superficial; filled with crashingly obvious "insights" and uninteresting anecdotes . She obviously "emptied her notebook". Save your money and buy a few of the racing novels of Dick Francis instead. You'll learn more about the racing scene, and have a better time as well.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Anthroplogical Review 13 Dec. 1999
By Sally Baker - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am currently studying Social Anthropology at the University of Kent. Thus this book was a refreshing change for me - instead of reading about far away, bizarre locations - it was something I could actaully connect with and properly understand. I am also doing a dissertation this year on the topic of Foxhunting: A Rural Ritual - and I would be very interested to somehow contact Kate Fox and maybe get some input from her on the topic. Does anyone know how I might be able to get in touch with her? Her approach to the Racing Tribe is similar to my project - participant observation and interviewing a group of people withing the England - with an equine theme.
Witty, informative... honestly couldn't put it ... 27 Oct. 2014
By No Ingenue - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Witty, informative...honestly couldn't put it down.
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