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Socio-cultural studies of Sport, Exercise & the Body

We aim to:

  • critically explore and understand social issues associated with Sport, Exercise and the Body;
  • support research that is interdisciplinary, theoretically sound and embedded in empirical evidence;
  • increase the appreciation of high quality socio-cultural research in relation to key areas identified;
  • support and carry out research that generates local/regional/global impact;
  • actively seek out external research funding opportunities.

Key research interests: body politics, corporeal and sporting identities, national identity, nationalism, moral pedagogy, the Olympic industry, migrations, globalization, post-colonial societies, gender relations and drive for muscularity.


Dr Gyozo Molnar – is currently working on a range of Fiji rugby migration related research projects with Dr Yoko Kanemasu (The University of The South Pacific). His current publications and research revolve around migration, globalization, national identity, gender relations and drive for muscularity. He is co-editor (with Prof. Alan Bairner) of The Politics of The Olympics (2010, Routledge), co-writer (with Dr John Kelly) of the Sport, Exercise and Social Theory: An Introduction (2012, Routledge), co-editor (with Dr Laura Purdy) of the Ethnographies in Sport and Exercise Research (2015, Routledge) and co-editor (with Drs Sara Amin and Yoko Kanemasu) of Women, Sport and Exercise in the Asia-Pacific Region: Domination-Resistance-Accommodation (2018, Routledge).


Dr Rachael Bullingham – has recently completed her PhD in homophobia in women’s sport from the University of Winchester. The project updated the outcome on lesbian women competing in teamsports in the United Kingdom. She has already published research on lesbian athletes competing in the American collegiate system. Rachael is one of the first people to publish on the effect and decline of homohysteria within women’s sport. She is also part of the Sport Collision Injury Collective which is a group of academics who are aiming to reduce injuries sustained in British youth sport.

Dr Christian Edwards– his research focuses on muscularity related body-image in Men and Women. The primary focus of his work has been on the drive for muscularity (DFM) and Muscle Dysmophia. He is currently collaborating with Dr Gyozo Molnar and Dr David Tod (Liverpool John Moores University) to explore: (a) the life histories of people with high levels of DFM, and (b) how people with high DFM experience life. His published papers can be viewed at

PhD Projects:


Verity Postlethwaite, PhD candidate (Director of Studies – Dr Gyozo Molnar): The Mechanics of Inspiring a Generation: How has the London 2012 legacy aim to Inspire a Generation affected the policy around sport in the education sector- from bidding in 2002 to the present day- within the United Kingdom

Andrew Wedgbury, PhD candidate (Director of Studies - Dr Gyozo Molnar): Investigating key socio-cultural issues in English coarse angling.


Christian Edwards, PhD candidate (Director of Studies - Dr Gyozo Molnar): A Psycho-social investigation of drive for muscularity in young adult males.

Chris Faulkner, PhD candidate (Director of Studies - Dr Gyozo Molnar): Basketball players' migratory experiences and the implications for transnational basketball labour migration.

Adam Benkwitz, PhD candidate (Director of Studies – Dr Gyozo Molnar): Clashing Sub-Cultures: The Rivalry Between the Fans of Aston Villa and Birmingham City Football Club.

Dani Stephens, PhD candidate (Supervisor - Dr Gyozo Molnar): Cycling as serious leisure: An exploration of motivational factors, gender and consumption.



Mike Tyler - 'Sporting bodies in the Body of Christ: investigating the embodied experiences of Christian Sportsmen in the UK'

Thomas Howard – Walking sports’ effect on the subjective well-being of adults over the age of

Chris Bright – Socio-cultural barriers to doing sports with diabetes community

Natalie Rouse - Drive for muscularity: an auto-ethnography


Jo Baker (Director of Studies - Dr Gyozo Molnar): An Exploration of the Drive for Muscularity in Males

Vacation Research Assistants 2014:

They told us to ‘Inspire a generation’: Evaluating rhetoric and realities of the Olympic/Paralympic values and participation legacy in Secondary School Physical Education contexts (Dr Geoff Kohe)

The cultural complexity of challenging post-colonial hegemonic masculinity: Women’s struggles in Fiji rugby (Dr Gyozo Molnar)

Vacation Research Assistants 2015:

Drive for muscularity: Women’s experiences of living with/for muscles (Dr Gyozo Molnar & Christian Edwards)

Vacation Research Assistants 2016:

Muscle Site Dwell Duration and Pupil Dilation in Men with High and Low levels of Drive for Muscularity. (Christian Edwards & Dr Gyozo Molnar)