Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module SPRT3231: Applied Sociology of Sport

Department: Sport and Exercise Sciences

SPRT3231: Applied Sociology of Sport

Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham



  • SPRT 1271 Introduction to Sociology of Sport OR SPRT 2461 Advanced Sociology of Sport. Open students may have passed an equivalent L1 or L2 foundational sociology module in Dept. of Sociology.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To provide an applied and working understanding of key concepts and theories related to contemporary sociological debates in sport and exercise;
  • To provide a forum in which students can actively utilize theoretical approaches within a framework of critical reasoning to comprehend the social construction of contemporary social issues, problems and policy solutions in sport.


  • The module will be divided structurally into two sections:
  • The first section (Term 1) is lecture-based and will focus on contemporary issues in sport. Divided into (at least three) blocks, students will engage in debates related to social problems such as, for example, discrimination, violence, trauma, work, media, fandom, pedagogy, digital / virtual spaces, activism, and policy.
  • Sociology is located at the heart of the module, but the module also draws on an interdisciplinary framework, using literature from across the social and political sciences to understand contemporary social issues and problems in sport.
  • Content will be delivered through a series of research-informed lectures, which will include applied case studies. Each lecture block will include i) a discussion of the issue under study and relevant theoretical frameworks and ii) an applied case study.
  • The second section (Term 2) is student-led and places emphasis on contemporary social problems in sport and considers the ways in which different concepts and theories may apply to an understanding of them. Students are challenged to engage in comparative critical analyses deploying a range of sociological and policy resources and relating them to real-world state of affairs in sport.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Explain and analyse sociological and political aspects of social issues and problems in sport.
  • Utilise and apply sociological and policy concepts and theories to interrogate contemporary social issues, problems and key debates in sport.
  • Demonstrate sociological acumen and a critical awareness of the part played by theory for the analysis and understanding of the complexity of social issues and problems in sport.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply sociological and policy concepts and theories with confidence;
  • Demonstrate the ability to interrogate social issues and problems in sport from a range of competing perspectives;
  • Demonstrate the ability to interpret sociological and policy literature and to follow a theoretical argument.
Key Skills:
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving;
  • Information and Research Skills and Communication Skills: the ability to collect, analyse and organise information and ideas and to convey those ideas clearly and fluently in writing and verbally;
  • Personal Effectiveness and Interpersonal Skills: the ability to apply critical reasoning to sociological issues and policy problems through independent thought and informed judgement;
  • the ability to interact effectively with others in order to work towards a common outcome.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures in Term 1 will introduce students to sociological concepts, theories and contemporary debates related to sport and an appreciation of their relative strengths. The lectures will provide opportunities for students to consider alternative sociological perspectives on a range of social issues and problems related to sport;
  • Workshops in Term 2 will enable students to develop a competence in using a range of concepts and theoretical positions in the sociology of sport and sports policy, allowing students to conduct an in-depth investigation of a specific social issue or problem in sport and to prepare for their summative assessment;
  • Students will plan and facilitate a seminar (as part of Term 2 workshops) that is designed to ensure fellow students are able to engage with their chosen social problems in sport and exercise and debate/examine the topic in question;
  • The summative work (both individual and group-based) will test students' ability to research a specific social issue or problem in sport;
  • A formative piece of work will allow students to develop an essay plan related to a social problem in sport;
  • Seminars in Term 1 will support and consolidate learning in relation to concepts and theories used to examine sociological issues and policy problems related to sport and to develop ideas related to all summative work.
  • Seminars in Term 1 will enable staff to showcase models of good teaching practice, which students in Term 2 can draw from and emulate.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 weekly in term 1 1 hour 10
Seminars 4 4 in term 1 1 hour 4
Workshops 7 7 in term 2 2 hours 14
Preparation and reading 172
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Essay 2,000 100% Yes
Component: Student-led seminar Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Group Student-led seminar 45 minutes 100% Yes

Formative Assessment:

500 word essay plan for summative assignment 1

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University