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Research

I am currently a doctoral candidate studying for my PhD in the Faculty of Physical Education and Health at the University of Toronto. In 2009, I departed home shores and became part of a vast and expansive Irish diaspora which reaches all corners of the North American continent. Before arriving in the multicultural metropolis that is Toronto, Canada, I received my Masters Degree in the Sociology of Sport from Loughborough University (UK). My central areas of investigation pertain to the study of sport and physical cultures; most notably the intersections between human rights & sport, the relationship between sport, national identity & diasporic communities, children & high performance sport, as well as corruption & exploitation in sporting structures.

My current research investigates the nexus between the phenomenon of trafficking, child labor and the realm of sport, with a specific focus on the process through which adolescent West African boys are identified, recruited, and trafficked under the premise of a professional football career in Europe. In seeking to understand the insidious network underpinning the clandestine movement of young footballers, my academic inquiry encompasses extended periods of fieldwork across the European and African continents. Previously, my research accomplishments have explored the socio-cultural and political significance of football on the island of Ireland, highlighting the precarious status of young athletes amidst the ethno-sectarian conflict which continues to engulf the Northern Irish sporting landscape. I am primarily dedicated to the production of critically oriented, empirically grounded studies of sport subcultures, advocating the need for qualitatively based ethnographic modes of inquiry.

In crossing boundaries between athlete, activist and academic, I advocate the importance of an ‘investigative’ orientation to sociological inquiry which seeks to probe beyond the consumerist ideology of contemporary sport to pursue accountability, sustainability and equality. In possessing a research sensibility which is interventionist, policy driven and politically committed, I hope this blog will help me articulate some of my thoughts, experiences, and perhaps occasionally, even a degree of knowledge on a multitude of topics related to my academic and sporting endeavors.

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