The sociology of sport in Australia has reached a key point in its development A critical tradition in the subdiscipline has been established over the last decade, but its intellectual and institutional progress has been uneven. This article briefly traces the emergence of critical sports sociology in a country outside the major centers in the UK and U.S., its break with functionalist approaches, and its attempts to overcome the neglect of local mainstream sociology. The authors proceed to examine (self-reflexively) the changes of theoretical direction and the new lines of research that are being explored in the field. A recent “skirmish” with narrative history over the preferred theories and methods in sports analysis is discussed as illustrative of the difficulties encountered by an energetic but small, dispersed and underorganized scholarly movement in Australia.
David Rowe is with the Department of Leisure and Tourism Studies at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, 2308, Australia. Jim McKay is with the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, 4072, Australia. Geoffrey Lawrence is with the Faculty of Arts, Health, and Sciences at Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, 4702, Australia.