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 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 interests lie within the broad area of the sociological analysis of sport, exercise and leisure. I'm primarily interested in the relationships between class, nation, ethnicity and sport within Scotland and the British Isles. Whilst this has been my main research area to date, i'm increasingly fascinated by how power manifests itself in sporting worlds - sport industries, sports media and the social sciences of sport. This involves researching the lived realities of 'sectarianism', militarism, nationalism and, increasingly, surveillance in sporting worlds. A central issue of power revolves around how to 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. 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 students are researching the following topics:

Sociological analysis of women's international rugby coaching

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 Conservatoir of Scotland and St. Andrews University)

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


  • Placement (year 2)
  • Advanced Research Methods (year 3)
  • Sociology of Sport (year 3)
  • Sport, Media and Society (year 4)
  • Sport in Global Context (year 4)
  • Dissertation (year 4)

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