A blend of academic and personal observations on sport, leisure and popular cultures

Alan Tomlinson is Emeritus Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Brighton, UK, where he has worked since 1975. Tomlinson studied humanities (English, philosophy and history) and sociology at the University of Kent (BA 1971) and gained a PGCE (English and Social Studies 1972) before taking an MA (1973) and a DPhil (1977) in Sociological Studies (sociology of art/literature) at the University of Sussex.


These writings on sport, leisure and popular culture have drawn upon his interdisciplinary background, including social and cultural histories of working-class sport forms, studies of international sporting events and their power dynamics, and analyses of sport media.

My work and writings focus predominantly on the social history of sport, sociology and cultural studies, and I supervise research students on media/sport cultures, comparative sports cultures and politics, and the sociology of the arts.

He has published more than 150 articles, book chapters, reports and books, and is especially well-known for his historically-based work on the making and reporting of large-scale sporting ceremonies and events, which has featured on numerous national and international radio and television broadcasts. He has edited the journals Leisure Studies and the International Review for the Sociology of Sport, and is on editorial/advisory boards of several journals. He co-founded Brighton’s programme in Sport Journalism, and has led the Sport and Leisure Cultures (SLC) research group to the forefront of international scholarship in the field. His research has been supported by the British Academy, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the European Commission, the Sports Council/Sport England, the South East England Development Agency, the Central Council for Physical Recreation, and numerous regional and local authorities. He has supervised 30 PhDs and 6 MPhils to successful completion, examined 35 doctoral theses, and reviewed for research councils in the UK, Canada and Australia. Professor Tomlinson is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK), an inaugural NASSS Fellow (North American Society for the Sociology of Sport), a long-term member of the British Sociological Association and the Leisure Studies Association, and a full member of the Sports Journalists’ Association.