1st Edition

Eric Dunning and the Sociology of Sport

Edited By Dominic Malcolm, Ivan Waddington Copyright 2024

    This book celebrates the life and career of Eric Dunning. Eric Dunning was a pioneer of the sociology of sport, firstly known for his ground-breaking theoretical work with Norbert Elias, and his study of the development of football. Subsequently he published seminal work on amateurism, professionalism and the development of rugby (with Kenneth Sheard) and on football hooliganism (with Patrick Murphy and John Williams) and became a focal point for figurational sociological work on sport. Such was the scope of his thinking and the force of his personality that he bestrode the sociology of sport from its inception and initial organisational formation to his retirement. This book charts the breadth and depth of Eric Dunning’s influence through a series of chapters written by friends, colleagues and others who have worked with his ideas. Chapters provide an overview of his thinking, reflect on his own core research, and describe the departures this inspired across a range of topics embracing politics, sport, health and education, spanning different nations and sporting cultures.

    This book will be beneficial to students, researchers and professionals with an interest in sport and in the relationship between sport and society. The chapters in this book were originally published in Sport in Society.

    1. Scholar, gentleman and player: a tribute to Eric Dunning

    Dominic Malcolm and Ivan Waddington 

    2. The Contribution of Eric Dunning to the Sociology of Sport: The Foundations

    Stephen Mennell 

    3. Putting football on the academic map: Eric Dunning and the study of association football

    Graham Curry

    4. ‘Amateurism’ as a Sociological Problem: Some Reflections Inspired by Eric Dunning

    Richard Gruneau

    5. The Leicester School and the Study of Football Hooliganism

    Alan Bairner

    6. Making sense of ‘Ireland’, sport and identity: the craft of doing sociology

    Katie Liston and Joseph Maguire 

    7. A quest for relaxation? A figurational analysis of the transformation of yoga into a global leisure time phenomenon

    Miranda Thurston and Daniel Bloyce 

    8. Bullying in male physical education: a figurational sociological analysis

    Mark Mierzwinski and Philippa Velija

    9. The spectacularization of violence in contemporary US bare-knuckle fighting

    Raúl Sánchez-García

    10. The Germans: no sports but only drills and exercises?

    Michael Krüger

    11. Health and democratization as contradictory policy goals: sport in Zaragoza city

    Celia Marcen and Dominic Malcolm

    12. Physical Education and Figurational Sociology: An Appreciation of the Work of Eric Dunning

    Ken Green

    13. On whiskey, generational osmosis, and thinking ‘til it hurts: Eric Dunning and the Canadian Sociology of Sport Figuration

    Michael Atkinson and Kevin Young


    Dominic Malcolm is Professor in the Sociology of Sport at Loughborough University, UK, and Editor of International Review for Sociology of Sport. His core research interests draw on and apply the theoretical ideas of Norbert Elias’s figurational sociology to two substantive areas: the social development of cricket; and sport, health and medicine.

    Ivan Waddington is Visiting Professor at the University of Chester, UK. His edited and authored books include Sport, Health and Drugs (2000), Sport Histories (2004), Pain and Injury in Sport (2006), and An Introduction to Drugs in Sport. Addicted to Winning (2009).