Sociology of sport: United Kingdom

John Horne, Dominic Malcolm

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)


Sociology of sport in the United Kingdom is as old as the subdiscipline itself but was uniquely shaped by the prominence of football hooliganism as a major social issue in the 1970s and 1980s. While it remains a somewhat niche activity, the field has been stimulated by the growing cultural centrality of sport in UK society. This quantitative and qualitative development has been recognized in recent governmental evaluations of research expertise. Current research reflects this expanded range of social stratification and social issues in sport both domestically and on a global level, while the legacy of hooligan research is evident in the continuing concentration on studies of association football. Historically, this empirical research has largely been underpinned by figurational, Marxist/neo-Marxist, or feminist sociological theories, but there is now a greater emphasis on theoretical synthesis and exploration. As a consequence of the expansion of the field, allied to its empirical and theoretical diversity, there is a burgeoning literature produced by UK sociologists of sport that spans entry-level textbooks, research monographs, and the editorship of a significant number of specialist journals. The chapter concludes by noting the future prospects of the sociology of sport in the United Kingdom in relation to teaching, research, and relations with other sport-related subdisciplines and the sociological mainstream.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch in the Sociology of Sport
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch in the Sociology of Sport
ISSN (Print)1476-2854


  • Chelsea School
  • Figurational sociology
  • Football hooliganism
  • Leicester School
  • Neo-Marxist theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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