Module 1: The Sports Industry & Entrepreneurship
The module explores the relationship between sport, market principles & entrepreneurship. Big money in sport today is often portrayed as a threat to the integrity of sport. This is linked to the legacy of amateurism: playing for love rather than profit as the highest good. More recently, it has been argued that the history of organized sports (and mass spectatorship) explicitly evolved from the development of the sports industry and that leagues with a commercial orientation breathe new life into the game.
Module 2: Sports Governance, Ethics & Research Methods
This module interrogates past and current sports governance and ethics. Contemporary sport has pushed tensions about rules and cheating to new limits. But the fault lines have always existed. Cricket was thrown into turmoil by match-fixing problems in the early nineteenth century - trust was evaporating. The Tour de France was also embroiled in cheating scandals from the outset. The problems of fair play and governance today, and their legal and ethical ramifications, reveal new pressures on old themes. This module also develops the research methods that students will draw on across the MA.
Module 3: Management & Decision-making
This module explores the biases that can undermine rational decision-making. A challenge for sports leaders is balancing external confidence with private intellectual scepticism. Equally, the result of a decision does not inevitably vindicate or invalidate the decision itself: good decisions can have bad outcomes and bad decisions can have good outcomes. A nuanced understanding of risk is a foundation of improved decision-making. The module will also ask its students to address how effective leaders take their team with them.
Module 4: Globalisation
Sport has not only benefitted from globalisation, but it is also a powerful agent of globalisation. That is nothing new: organised sport was one of Britain’s most significant exports in the late nineteenth century. This was sport’s first great globalisation. A second wave emerged with the ascent of television and the freer movement of labour in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Sport has become the world’s common language, with profound consequences for how ideas, talent and money interact.
Module 5: The Sporting Event
What are the wider cultural and political significances of sporting events, and how are they changing? Students will study mega-events such as the Olympics and the World Cup as a projection of nationhood, and the wider issue of “sports diplomacy.” Covering historical dimensions (such as the transport revolution that permitted the formation of leagues and spectator sport), the impact of broadcasting, and the digital revolution/rise of social media, this module contextualises the sporting event.
Module 6: Sport & Society
Sport both reflects and influences social attitudes and behaviours, raising fundamental questions about equality, while nevertheless promoting elite performance and status. Students will debate flashpoints and case studies, including how sport shaped reform agendas in Industrial Revolution Britain and post WWII America. Sport has now become a prominent battleground for wider debates over equality and representation, discrimination and prejudice.
The dissertation, which concludes the MA, can be on any subject of the student’s choice, following the approval of the Course Director.