Transformative research and epistemological hierarchies: Ruminating on how the sociology of the sport field could make more of a difference

Richard Pringle, Mark Falcous

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Amidst recent clarion calls for ‘transformative action’ within the sociology of sport, in this paper we consider the prospects of the field with respect to challenging social injustices and inequities. We reflect on how the sociology of sport has developed in a manner that now privileges the idiographic over the nomothetic, qualitative over quantitative methods and social constructionism over scientism. Although we acknowledge the strengths of these ways of knowing, we argue that the resulting marginalization of quantitative methods and associated scepticism towards the biological sciences may potentially limit the ability of the sociology of sport to make a difference. We subsequently draw on select feminist activists and affect theorists to consider how methodological border crossings might enhance possibilities for challenging social injustices. We proffer that it is timely to reevaluate the field’s epistemological orthodoxies in order to have greater political impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-277
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • affect
  • critical research
  • feminist activist research
  • interdisciplinary
  • qualitative
  • sociology of sport field
  • theorizings

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