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  • International Research Institute for Sport Studies (IRiSS)

    Image accredited to Professor John Horne

    Child at beach playing football

The International Research Institute for Sport Studies (IRiSS) is a multi-disciplinary research institute, primarily based on the social sciences and cultural studies approaches to sport, which seeks to encourage the development of collaborative research projects, within UCLan, the UK and transnationally with groups of colleagues at other universities and research institutes.

The work of the IRiSS will include:

  • The staging of regular research seminars, symposia/workshops and other networking opportunities, to enable exchanges both ‘inside and outside’ policy discourses.
  • The provision of expert analysis, consultancy, and strategic research.
  • Postgraduate research training, mentoring and supervision.

An International Advisory Board provides advice on opportunities for research, developments in theoretical and methodological approaches in sport studies and research grant applications around the world.

The Director of IRISS, Professor John Horne, can be contacted at

Expertise and subject areas

Research is organised under three main headings.

I. Sociology of sport

Sociology of Sport research is framed by contemporary and classical sociological and cultural theory. In general terms this involves research that advances empirically and theoretically an understanding of the relationship between sport, social structures and societies. This approach is applied to various sports and societal settings:

  • Issues in sport in consumer culture: e.g. sponsorship, advertising and patronage of sport, regulation and globalization of gambling, cheating.
  • Sport, media and society: content analysis and discourse analysis; sports journalism.
  • Globalization and sport: e.g. trends in global sports goods and services, global commodity chains, ownership and control issues in professional sport, social relations of the production of sports talent, sport and global social movements.
  • Sport and inequalities of class, gender, ‘race’, disability, sexuality.
  • Sport and the socialisation process
  • Sporting subcultures
  • Sport and social theory
  • Sport and social development: sport in Asia, the ‘global South’, Europe and the Americas; Development of sport in East Asia, especially Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China

II. Sport in East Asia

UCLan’s sport research in East Asia investigates the development of sport and contemporary issues primarily as sociologists, but research in this field encompasses a number of different disciplinary interests.

Specific topic areas include:

  • The development of sport in East Asia, especially Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China.
  • The development of professional sport, especially football, in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and China.
  • Football and community in Japan.
  • The globalization of sport and East Asia.
  • Sport and the media in East Asian societies.
  • East Asian Societies and Sports Mega-Events.

III. Sports Mega-Events

Whilst approaching sports ‘megas’ primarily as sociologists, research in this field encompasses a number of different disciplinary interests, including:

  • Challenges and opportunities of sports mega-events - the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, World Cups in football, rugby union and cricket.
  • The mediation of sports mega-events: media spectacles and lived experience.
  • The building and production of sports mega-events: architecture and urban life.
  • The politics of hosting sports mega-events: event boosters and sceptics.
  • Sports mega-events and the politics of the environment


IRiSS seeks to:

  • Act as a knowledge hub for social scientific and cultural studies research in sport, including, but not exclusively, anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science and sociology.
  • Contribute to the expanding field of research on sport in society in the UK and internationally by focussing on sport at regional, national and international levels.
  • Create a favourable environment for junior researchers in the area of sport studies that will make UCLan synonymous with leading edge research, scholarly opportunities and academic development.
  • Provide expert analysis, consultancy, strategic research and postgraduate research training and supervision (M.Phil. and PhD).

Events and News


The speakers, dates, times and rooms for IRISS research seminars in the 2014/15 academic year were as follows:

Nutritional Supplements, ‘Intent’ and ‘Strict Liability’ in the Parallel World of WADA
Dr David McArdle, School of Law, Stirling University

Time and location: Wednesday 19 November 2014, 3-4:30 pm., room GR350*

Much of the discussion about anti-doping regimes has focussed on the application of the “strict liability principle”, whereby the athlete is responsible for any prohibited substance that is found in their sample and regardless of whether the athlete intentionally, carelessly or recklessly consumed that substance. However, the potential unfairness to athletes has been recognised and the strict liability principle ‘modified’, so that it is possible for athletes to avoid the full implications of the strict liability principle in some circumstances. The purpose of this paper is to show that the categorisation of the prohibited substances that nutritional supplements contain, and the way in which supplement-related violations have been dealt with by national anti-doping agencies and the CAS, mean that even this “modified” approach offers very little to athletes who test positive through supplement use. Until there is evidence that the CAS’ approach to “risk” is less stringent than the WADA Code intends, athletes who are likely to be tested should avoid supplements altogether.

Brazil, The Olympics and the FIFA World Cup
Gabriel Silvestre, University of Westminster and the Bartlett School of Planning, University College London & Professor John Horne, SSTO, UCLan
Wednesday 17 December 2014 3-4:30 pm GR350

The presentation has two sections: a brief history of socio-cultural and political aspects of sport in Brazil that provides the background for the second that discusses contemporary aspects of mega-event bidding and hosting in Brazil. The first section focuses on the role of football in forging national identity and the growth in popularity of the sport. The politics surrounding Brazil’s involvement in the FIFA World Cup since 1950 is discussed. The second section considers bidding and national politics underpinning the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympics, public protest and security, and demonstrations before and during the 2014 World Cup. The talk concludes by considering the impact of mega-event hosting on political agendas and the outlook for football and other professional sports post-mega-events in Brazil.

Dr Jung Woo Lee (The University of Edinburgh)
“The 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games and Sports Mega-Event Scepticism in South Korea”
Time and location: Wednesday 28 January 2015, 3-4:30 pm. Room GR350*

The next edition of the Winter Olympic Games will take place in the South Korean district of Pyeongchang. When this sporting event was awarded to the East Asian country in 2011, Korean people and the media celebrated the IOC’s decision in unison. Recently, however, a sceptical view on hosting the large scale sporting competition is notably on the rise. It seems that the sports mega-event, which engenders tension rather than harmony, is no longer an unquestionably welcome occasion for a large number of the South Korean public. In order to understand the wide spread of mega-event scepticism, it is necessary to consider political and economic developments that South Korea has undergone over the last two decades: the maturation of political democracy and the enhancement of economic competence.

Dr Jayne Caudwell (University of Brighton)
“Everyday misogynies and sport”
Time and location: Wednesday 18 February 2015, 3-4:30 pm. Room GR350*

Rani Abraham’s disclosure to the media in May 2014 of Richard Scudamore’s ribald sexist e-mail commentary provides evidence of, and challenge to, the culture of misogyny within UK sport. Scudamore, Chief Executive of the English Premier League (EPL), exchanged titillating sexist jokes with his longstanding friend Nick West. West, a lawyer, works for DLA Piper and specializes in broadcasting. It is men like this that hold vast amounts of social and cultural power in British society, including sport. In this paper, I analyze a report by Dr Alison Phipps and Isabel Young on ‘Women students’ experiences of ‘lad culture’ in Higher Education’ in light of this incident.

Dr Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson (University of Lincoln)
“Listening to the sporting body: auditory work and asthma experiences”
Time and location: Wednesday 11 March 2015, 3-4:30 pm. Room GR350*

Whilst there has been a burgeoning of interest in sporting and exercise embodiment in recent years, including more phenomenologically inspired sociological analyses, a sociology of the senses is a relatively recent innovation, particularly in the domain of physical cultures. This provides an interesting new dimension to studies of sporting embodiment, focusing on the importance of the sensory elements of our ‘somatic work’, and analysing the ways in which we go about making sense of our senses within a socio-cultural and physical-cultural framework. Drawing on the findings of two qualitative research projects, this paper addresses the lived experience of asthma in non-élite sports participants. Despite the prevalence of asthma and exercise-induced asthma/bronchoconstriction, there is a distinct lacuna in terms of qualitative research on asthma experiences, and specifically in relation to sports participation. Here, I focus on the aural dimension of asthma experiences in sport, examining two key elements: 1) asthma as ‘dys-ease’; and 2) auditory attunement and breath control.

*'GR' is in purple near the top of the map: Preston City Campus Map
All welcome; no fee to attend.

IRiSS Research Seminars are held in the Greenbank Building of the Preston City Campus of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan):

The seminars are free of charge and will all commence at 3pm. For further details please contact:

John Horne AcSS
Professor of Sport and Sociology
Director, International Research Institute for Sport Studies (IRISS)
School of Sport and Wellbeing, Greenbank Building
University of Central Lancashire, Preston
PR1 2HE, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1772 894235
Fax: +44 (0)1772 892927

Additional Information


Professor John Horne

Operations Group

Professor John Horne
Dr Jess Macbeth
Dr Sue Minten

International and UK Advisory Board

Professor Alan Bairner (Loughborough, UK)
Jon Best (Independent Consultant/formerly Research Manager, sportscotland, UK)
Professor Scarlett Cornelissen (Stellenbosch, SA)
Professor Richard Gruneau (Simon Fraser, CAN)
Professor Jean Harvey (Ottawa, CAN)
Dr Ruth Jeanes (Monash, AUS)
Professor Annette Hofmann (Ludwigsburg, GER)
Dr Wolfram Manzenreiter (Vienna, AUSTRIA)
Dr Camilla Obel (Canterbury, NZ)
Professor Ken Roberts (Liverpool, UK)
Professor David Rowe (Western Sydney, AUS)
Nick Rowe (Sport England, UK)
Professor Stefan Szymanski (Michigan, USA)
Professor Lee Thompson (Waseda, JPN)
Professor Takahashi Yoshio (Tsukuba University, JPN)