Sport, Physical Education & Health Sciences

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Dr John Kelly

Lecturer in Sport and Recreation Business Management

Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences (SPEHS)


Tel: +44 (0) 131 651 6642


St Leonard's Land


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 studied Sport and Human Movement Studies at UWIC (Cardiff) in order to complete a one-year PGCE in Physical Education and become a teacher of physical education. Being disillusioned with the school teaching process and increasingly developing my sociological imagination, I began a part-time Masters in Sport and Leisure Cultures at the University of Brighton whilst being employed full-time at the International Study Centre, Herstmonceux (East Sussex), by Queen's University (Ontario) as a student activities coordinator. During this time I worked at Brighton University and Roehampton University as a visiting lecturer in the sociology of sport. I then managed to win a School of Sport and Exercise Science studentship to complete a full-time PhD at Loughborough University. I worked on a part-time basis at Loughborough University as a student sub-warden in the halls of residence whilst completing my doctorate. In February 2007 I undertook my first post-doctorate position as a senior lecturer in the sociology of sport at the University of Worcester before joining Moray House School of Education in September 2008. 

Principal interests

My research focuses on the social and cultural analysis of sport, exercise and leisure. I'm primarily interested in the relationships between class, nation, ethnicity and sport. Additionally, i'm increasingly fascinated by how power manifests itself in sporting worlds - sport industries, sports media and the social sciences of sport. I've researched the lived realities of 'sectarianism', militarism, nationalism and surveillance in sporting worlds. 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. I'm regularly invited to discuss sport and society issues on national and international television, newspapers and radio. I have also been invited to offer academic advice on sport and society issues to government committees, national charities and community sport organisations.

Research Supervision: I am prepared to consider supervising research in the areas described above and/or related to my recent publications / research. My current PhD student is researching:

Critical analysis of discursive formations of health, wellbeing and the body within physical education environments.

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

Potential Phd students are welcome to contact me directly if they wish to discuss a possible study.

Current and recent research

My current research involves:

Irish diaspora communities and Scottish football; ethno-religious bigotry ('sectarianism') in Scottish football and society. I have recently co-edited (with Professor John Flint) a book on football, bigotry and Scotland. I am currently working on a number of articles on the following: the use of theory in sport related work; the policing and surveillance of football fans in the context of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Bill; Scottish rugby union supporters and issues around class, regional and national identities; sport, celebrity, remembrance and the UK military covenant. I am currently co-editing the Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics. 

I am a founding member of the Edinburgh Sport research group within our Institute for Sport, Physical Education and Health Sciences.  

I have acted as a reviewer for a number of journals including Sociology and the International Review for the Sociology of Sport.


Publications list for Dr John Kelly


Course Leader

  • Sport and Society (year 1)
  • Sociology of Sport (year 3)
  • Sport, Media and Society (year 4)
  • Dissertation (year 4)
  • Sport and the Media (MSc)


  • Placement (year 2)
  • Advanced Research Methods (year 3)

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