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Comparing Sporting Nations: Theory and Method

Published Date: February 22, 2021

Paperback. Select retailer below


Out May 2021



It is the essence of human nature to compare, and nowhere are comparisons more commonplace than in sport. This book focuses specifically on the comparison of sporting nations. Making meaningful comparisons (i.e. comparing the similarities and differences between social phenomena based upon empirical observation) is difficult and resource intensive and faces a host of methodological limitations, trade-offs and practical compromises. Despite these ongoing issues, there remains no introductory texts that outline the philosophical, methodological and practical challenges of comparative analysis as it applies to sport. This book is therefore the first of its kind to provide a comprehensive overview of the theory and method of comparing sporting nations illustrated through specific examples and case studies drawn from the comparative elite sport policy/management domain. In doing so, the book provides an important point of departure and reference for anyone seeking to making comparisons and to generate more focus and attention towards the logic of comparative inquiry and methodology within sport.


Author information

Dr Mathew Dowling is a senior lecturer at the Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University, UK. He completed his PhD at the University of Alberta, Canada, and is alma mater of Loughborough University, UK. His current research interests focus on the application of organisational and political theory to understand sport organisations and systems. He is widely published in sport policy and politics, organisational change, systemic governance, professionalistion and comparative methods in sport.


Dr Spencer Harris is an associate professor of Sport Management at the University of Colorado, US. He has more than 30 years of experience within the sport development industry and has worked for the University of Hertfordshire, Sport England and Right to Play. He completed his PhD at Loughborough University, UK. His research interests centre on sport governance and, specifically, the sport–politics–power relationship

Where to buy

RRP £22.50


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