2008  Atkinson, M. and K. Young, (Eds.), Tribal Play: Subcultural Journeys Through Sport. Bingley, UK: Emerald.

Traceable as far back as the work of the path-breaking ‘Chicago School’ of Sociology in the 1920s and 1930s, ‘subculture’ and ‘counterculture’ have long been conceptual staples of the discipline. Implemented originally to describe smaller, often deviant or delinquent, groups within larger social communities, the terms gained pace in their use in mid-twentieth century criminological research, and especially with the development of Cultural Studies in the UK in the 1970s, where they became widely used to describe processes of social class-based opposition, resistance and protest. More recently, sociologists have moved beyond a strict conformity-resistance model in accounting for the behaviour of sub-communities that coalesce around particular values, behaviours, or preferences. Indeed, contemporary sociological research has raised the possibility that the term ‘subculture’ may have entirely outgrown its usefulness. While the term ‘counterculture’ has also languished, there is no doubt that the sorts of social groups to which these terms have historically referred are more extensive and colourful than ever. Certainly this is the case in sport. Put simply, all societies are replete with their own versions of ‘Tribal Play’ which represent wider social patterns, processes, and struggles. This volume is a collection of 16 readings on aspects of sub-community life in sport that showcases the breadth and depth of sport subcultural research by a group of international scholars representing varied theoretical and methodological orientations. Some of the sport communities examined include soccer hooligans, endurance athletes, disabled athletes, environmentally conscious surfers, and X-Games participants.

Table of Contents


Introduction: A Subcultural History (Kevin Young and Michael Atkinson)


Part I:  Subcultures In Late Modernity

1. ‘They Think it’s All Over’: Sport and the End of Subculture Debate (John Hughson)

2. Firms, Crews, and Soccer Thugs: The Slight Return of Football Hooligan Subcultures (Steve Redhead)

3. Risk-Taking in Sport: Edgework and Reflexive Community

(Stephen Lyng)

Part II: Subcultural Resistance and Social Activism

4.   From the Pavement to the Beach: Politics and Identity in ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ (Belinda Wheaton)

5.  Believe the Hype? The Impact of the Internet on Sport- Related Subcultures (Brian Wilson)

6.  ‘Ambassadors of the Last Wilderness”? Surfers, Environmental Ethics, and Activism in America (Leslie Heywood and Mark Montgomery)

Part III: Subcultural Co-Option and Negotiation

7. Espn’s X Games: Contests of Opposition, Resistance, Co- Option, and Negotiation (Robert E. Rinehart)

8. Alternative And Mainstream: Revisiting the Sociological Analysis

of Skateboarding (Michele K. Donnelly)

Part IV: Subcultures, Genders and Sexualities

9. Female Incursion Into Cricket’s ‘Male Preserve’

  (Dominic Malcolm and Philippa Velija)

10. Beware*#! SK8 at Your Own Risk: The Discourses of

Young Female Skateboarders (Alana Young and Christine Dallaire)

11. ‘Sport’, Masculinity, and Consumption: Metrosexuality, ‘Chav’ Culture, and Social Class (Andrew Parker and Samantha Lyle)

Part V: Subcultural Bodies and the Politics of Health

12. The Social Construction of ‘Steroid Subcultures’ (Rob Beamish)

13. Enduring Bodies in Triathlon (Michael Atkinson)

14. Paralympic Newsrooms: On Creating a Mediated Subculture

 (David Howe)

Part VI:  Subcultural Research: Reflections From the Field

15. Johnny Rodz and The Jade Ring: Larry and Ted’s Excellent  Adventure In Pro Wrestling (Ted M. Butryn And Larry Degaris)

16. Ethical Ethnography: Epistemology and the Ethics of Good Intentions (Robert Sands)