'Football is my life': theorizing social practice in the Scottish professional football field

David McGillivray, Aaron McIntosh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    38 Citations (Scopus)


    There exists an apparent paradox between the continuing significance and growing glamorization of the professional game on a global scale and the increasingly unstable labour market conditions affecting professional football players at the national level - in this case, the Scottish professional football field. In this paper, we utilize Pierre Bourdieu's formula of habitus, capital and field to frame professional footballers' social practices - with specific emphasis on their engagement (or lack of engagement) with educational discourses. We also employ Bourdieu's concept of strategy to consider the ways in which footballers' identities might be reformulated within rather than outside the boundaries of the professional football field. Empirically, data generated from an in-depth qualitative study of two Scottish professional football clubs are presented. The paper concludes that, despite the increased awareness and availability of educational opportunities, players' engagement with educational discourses is, at best, an instrumental, means-end and outcome-based one.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSport in Society
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006


    • Scotland
    • football
    • sport


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