From hobbyhorse to mainstream: Using sport to understand British politics

Jonathan Grix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


The academic study of sport and politics has long been seen as a 'hobby' on the margins of the mainstream of political studies. The sport policy community has been, traditionally, a 'weak' area of policy. The last two decades, however, have seen the political salience of sport rapidly increase and, given that politics and sport are inextricable bound up with one another, it is surprising that so few political scientists study sport politics and policy. This article sets out to do two things: first, it makes the case that sport is very much about politics - and always has been - and for this reason is worthy of study by those concerned about power, resource allocation, policymaking, governance, political identity, race, gender and the like. Second, and more importantly, it contends that while the study of sport and sport policy per se is worthy, it can and should be also used as a prism through which to understand the wider machinations of politics and policy in Britain and in international relations. British Politics (2010) 5, 114-129. doi:10.1057/bp.2009.28
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-129
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2010


  • sport and political studies
  • sport policy community
  • sport and British politics


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