Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Sociology of Sport and/or physical activity;
'Sectarianism'; militarism; national identity;

Personal profile


1995-98: BA (Hons) Sport and Human Movement Studies, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff

2000-2002: MA Sport and Leisure Cultures, University of Brighton

2003-2007: PhD Sociology of Sport, Loughborough University

I am a sociologist whose research has focused on a range of topics including: ethnicity; national identity; class distinction; sectarianism; militarism; gender, social media & the body. I have published and been a reviewer in a range of international journals, and co-written and co-edited three major books on social theory, sectarianism, and politics respectively. 

Current Research Interests

My research interests lie within the broad area of the sociological analysis of sport, exercise and leisure. I seek to critically evaluate the relationships between class, nation, ethnicity and sport within the UK and Scotland in particular. Whilst this has been my main research area, i'm interested in how power manifests itself in sporting worlds - sport industries and social sciences of sport. This includes how we achieve trustworthy and believable analyses whilst balancing our own involvement or detachment in relation to the issue being analysed. I've utilised theoretical perspectives informed by Erving Goffman's symbolic interactionist approach and Pierre Bourdieu's conceptual model of habitus and i'm interested in these theoretical applications more broadly.

My current research involves: the use of 'sectarian' language, specifically comparing and contrasting the use of 'fenian' and 'hun' in Scottish discourse; sport's (and popular culture's) use in ideologically endorsing US/UK militarism in their 'war on terror'; analysing the ideological and structural aspects of media-sport. social media and effects on young people's presentation of self.

Research supervision: I am prepared to consider supervising research in the areas described above and/or related to my recent publications / research. My previous PhD students researched the following topics:

  • Sociological analysis of women's international rugby coaching
  • Critical analysis of discursive formations of health, wellbeing, social media and the body within physical education environments.

I was also an external advisor for a student studying "interaction rituals of dance class participants in Glasgow" (in collaboration with Royal Conservatoir of Scotland and St. Andrews University)

Research Groups

I am a founding member and co-leader of the Edinburgh Critical Studies in Sport (ECSS) research group within the University of Edinburgh.


 I'm regularly invited to speak on local, national and international stages and my academic expertise has been sought by media organisations including The BBC, STV, The Guardian, The Independent, Korean Broadcasting Company and Yahoo.  I've reviewed articles for a number of international journals including Sociology and the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, and have been a book proposal reviewer for Routledge. 

Clinical Expertise and Specialisation

My academic expertise is widely sought beyond academia and i've worked as an expert advisor or assessor for education departments in Europe (Croatia, Poland, Ireland). As an invited panel member, I have advised the Irish Consulate in Britain on Irish Diaspora identities, and the Scottish Executive Justice Committee on 'sectarianism'. I have acted as an academic witness in a number of court cases relating to 'sectarianism' and/or Irish identities in Scotland.


 I'm also the course leader unless specified with *

  • Sport and Society (year 1)
  • Sociology of Sport (year 3)
  • Sport, Media and Society (year 4)
  • Sport Management BSc Dissertation (year 4*)
  • Educational Studies Dissertation (year 4*)
  • Physical Education (year 4*) (Annual guest lecture only)
  • Sport and the Media (Masters)
  • Sport Policy, Management & International Development MSc Dissertation (Masters*)

PhD supervision (current)

Marianna Pavan - A critical and comparative analysis of football and social integration among asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland and Italy.

Junru Li - Investigating the relationship between sport, national identity and new media in China.

Chenqi Wang - A critical analysis of physical activity, body image, social media, and females in China. 

Visiting and Research Positions

April 2018.  Seoul National University (PhD and postrgaduate workshops)

November 2017.  Seoul National University (PhD and postgraduate workshops)



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