Dr Paul Davis

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Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Sport

I am a Senior Lecturer in the Sociology of Sport. I have a background in Philosophy, including the Philosophy of Sport, and have interests in ethical issues in sport, particularly gender.

Teaching and supervision

My teaching areas are predominantly sociological and theoretical aspects of sport, exercise, physical education and physical activity.

I lead the following modules:
SSP160 Sport and Physical Activity in Contemporary Settings
SSP265 Sport and Physical Education
SSP266 Sport, Power and Social Relations

I also deliver an annual session at masters level on sociological aspects of health and illness. I have in the past delivered masters sessions at the University of Sunderland on drug use in sport and exercise. 

I have also delivered modules in the Faculty of Education and Society. In 2016/17, I contributed two sessions to LLS221 (Students as Tutors), on Philosophy and Critical Thinking. I contributed two sessions in the same year to POL201 (European Political Ideas), on Nietzsche and the Existence of God. These two sessions will be repeated in 2017/18. I will also deliver in EDU302 (Ethics and Education) in 2017/18.

Other teaching contributions at the University include:
SSP325 Sport, Public Health and the Media
SSP150 Personal and Professional Skills
Masters sessions on Research Ethics
Masters session on Typologies and Theoretical Frameworks
Level 5 Employability module


I was trained in mainstream Philosophy, before gaining an interest in the Philosophy of Sport, which soon meshed with the Sociology of Sport.

I am particularly interested in philosophical, ethical, social and cultural aspects of sport. Areas include gender issues, transgression in sport and its ethical character and cultural framings, the aesthetics of sport (especially football), the mind and emotions in sport, and sport (especially football) fandom.

Areas of expertise

Philosophy and sociology of sport
Gender in sport and physical activity
Ethical issues in sport
Football fandom
Sport and aesthetics (especially the aesthetics of football)

Further information

I was appointed in April 2017 as Chair of the British Philosophy of Sport Association, which is a 2-year post. I was Vice-Chair before the appointment. I organised the Annual Meeting of the association, which took place at Sunderland's National Glass Centre in April 2015.

I was Associate Editor and Review Editor of the Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, the discipline's flagship journal, between 2002 and 2007.

My co-written essay (published October 2017) on the sexes playing fewer sets in Grand Slam tennis was covered in the media, including the Guardian, BBC, The Independent, Sunderland Echo, ITV.com and Global Radio.

I was interviewed on football fandom ('Why Football Matters') in February 2014 for Spark Sunderland, to coincide with Sunderland FC's appearance in the League Cup final.

I was interviewed by Colourful Radio in October 2011 on elements of football fandom. I have been quoted by Times award-winning journalist Matthew Syed.  

I have published several essays in the Scottish broadsheets The Herald and Scotland on Sunday, on (broadly) issues in sport, politics and culture. I have also published several essays in the former Scottish football fanzine, The Absolute Game.

I published an essay on philosophical questions in gambling for the Edinburgh University alumni magazine, Edit, to coincide with the launch of the National Lottery in 1994.  

Last updated 11 September 2018