2021 Abstracts Stage 3

What are the implications of new global communication networks in sports journalism, and what is their impact on identity within the modern world?

What are the implications of new global communication networks in sports journalism, and what is their impact on identity within the modern world?
William Roberts-19019345
I aim to discuss the idea of globalisation and new global trends influencing the way we live our lives, with a specific focus on how it influences how we identify ourselves. Using the example of sports and sports journalism, I query whether new global trends will have an impact on the ways in which we identify ourselves
What is journalism when seen in a global context?
I suggest we should see journalism as a social contract exchange. Within a global context I would argue that we become dependent on global networks which influence the social contract mechanism of sports journalism itself.
The link to identity and authentic identity
In this section I dissect identity from the view of Anthony Giddens and Alistair Macintyre, and even further, asking what constitutes an authentic identity.
The Communitarian vs Liberal debate
Elaborating on Giddens and Macintyre, and through the lens of sports journalism, I outline two primary positions in which one can identify themselves. Using Jean Luc Nancy and his ideas that the community is immensely important to the formation of the individual, I compare him to John Rawls and argue individual agency might be important towards forming an individual identity.
I finish the discussion by dissecting new global technologies and identity, suggesting that they impact the way we live as a political subject (We should be seen as more global)

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Should transwomen be banned from elite level rugby with reference to Judith Butler and other feminist thought.

This Project weighs up the positives and negatives of transwomen participating in elite level sport. The essay will be structured logically to allow for an in-depth argument. Firstly, empirically evidence will give an overview with an analysis of scientific research and public opinion. Following with philosophical input to give a moral and feminist stance on the matter. Overall leading to an overarching conclusion, that is, transgender women should be able to participate in elite level rugby.

2021 Abstracts Stage 3

Alternative ways of distributing competition in sport in light of the issues surrounding the acceptance of trans-athletes.

There are two main sides of the debate surrounding the issue of trans-gender athletes competing in sport – The first considers that everyone is entitled to participate in sport. The second deems it unfair and unsafe to allow trans-athletes to compete.

I offer to resolve this debate by proposing two methods that would change how competition is distributed. Moving away from the current system that sees competition based on sex, I will use Judith Butler to see if competition could be based on self-identification and John Rawls to see if competition could be based on what I will term as ‘micro-biology’.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2

The Art of MMA

The object of this project is the sport of MMA itself, and the project will emphasise and refer to the philosophical concepts of Sun Tzu, with a concise focus on his philosophy of war within The Art of War. With regards to context, this project will emphasise how a mixed martial artist’s adherence of Sun Tzu’s war philosophy can contribute to the elevation of their performance. This essay will firstly address Sun Tzu’s Five Indispensable Matters of the leader and demonstrate how an MMA head coach’s adherence of these concepts can build the foundations of a successful team. This will be executed by outlining a specific MMA Gym that subconsciously adheres to the five matters and will meanwhile demonstrate the type of leader that aspiring mixed martial artists should aim to fight under in accordance with Sun Tzu’s philosophy. After evaluating the five matters, I will then focus upon Sun Tzu’s concepts of The Spirit of the Troops and Emptiness and Strength as here the emphasis will shift from leader to soldier, and therefore I will apply his philosophy directly to the fighter’s rather than their head coaches. Here I will apply his concepts to contemporary mixed martial arts examples and demonstrate circumstances where they are subconsciously applied by successful MMA practitioners. The purpose of this will be to demonstrate how a mixed martial artists adherence of the Sun Tzu’s philosophy can prove to be prudent in one’s pursuit of a world title. With regards to secondary literature, I will utilise Michaelson’s Sun Tzu for Execution, which is his interpretation of how to utilise Sun Tzu’s war philosophy to get results in the modern day. In order to improve the validity of this project I have also conducted two online interviews via direct message with professional mixed martial artists Nathan Fletcher (6-1) and Luke Riley (3-0), with the two athlete’s responses showing contrasting perspectives.

2021 Abstracts Stage 2


This project is about the topic of sports washing, in particular, sports washing in the area of Football. It aims to provide an answer to whether the practice of it may be justifiable or not. The project shall argue against it being justified using Kantian ethics vs utilitarianism argument whereas the essay shall side with Kant. The philosophers against Kant are Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. some keywords to describe this are Utilitarianism, Sports washing, Kantian Ethics, Human Rights, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Football.

2017 Abstracts Stage 2

Hooliganism Project

Object/Territory: Football hooliganism is organised violence between football supporters and this will be used as a case study to assess whether violence can ever be seen as justifiable.

Philosophy: Sigmund Freud provides a basis for why humans are so interested in violence through his Narcissism of Minor Differences and the Human Inclination for Aggression. This will be used to assess whether this violence is truly inevitable and thus immoral for Kant, or whether the life of a hooligan could possibly provide the affirmative life that Nietzsche preaches is needed.

Outline: If violence is inevitable then it is surely justifiable. However why must this manifest as football hooliganism? And even if violence is taken as inevitable, does this make its morally permissible. Using the contemporary studies in football hooliganism to assess the physical cost, and combining this with the idealisation that hooliganism has, will create an answer to whether this activity is morally acceptable. If the modern conception fails, can a future one succeed?

2016 Abstracts Stage 2

Philosophical implications behind concussion in American Football

Philosophers used
Kant – Will use Kant’s philosophy to explain why the behaviour of the National Football League (NFL) was immoral
Hobbes – Will examine the actions of the NFL in relation to Hobbes’ view on Power
Adorno – Will use Adorno’s philosophy to analyse the role of mass culture in the concussion scandal
Territory – The National Football leagues denial of the dangers of concussion, and their attempts to cover up the work of Dr Omalu – The danger that this put all American Footballers in – The Lawsuit the NFL faced because of their mishandling of the situation

2015 Abstracts Stage 3

Has the authenticity of Football been diluted due to the commodification of the game in our contemporary culture?

Fundamental claims:
The authenticity of Football has been diluted due to the commodification of the game in our contemporary culture. • The commodification of the game is a result of all imposing factors that serve to weaken the integrity of the game. • I have argued these imposing factors are: the effects of Mass Media, Fetishism of the game, and the reproducibility of the game.
Philosophers used to support my claims:
1. Marx 2. Adorno 3. Debord, Benjamin
Through exposing the make-up of our contemporary culture it is made possible to see how the game Football was never going to exist in the same nature as it did when it first originated. Our society has served to alter the existence of the game and how it functions. By integrating
Adorno and his theory of ‘Mass Media’ we will be able to see both the detrimental and beneficial effects that media has had on the game. I will also look at Debord’s ‘Society of the Spectacle’, which will allow us to refute whether or not the game is merely a representation of itself. I believe Marx’s theory of ‘Commodity Fetishism’ and Benjamin’s theory on the ‘Reproducibility of the Work of Art in the Mechanical Age’ will make apparent the form of attachment a fan has to their club.

2013 Abstracts Stage 3

The Philosophy of the Commercialisation of Football and the effect this has on the supporter

Adorno- The notion of ‘Mass Culture’ and ‘Culture Industry’, authentic industries dissolving

Taylor- The concept of identity, commercialisation lowering club affiliation, atomism

Hegel- The consciousness of the individual, and our need to act according to the ‘good’

Marx- The exploitation of the working class within a capitalist society, the revolution of the working class

Key Concepts:
 A study into whether football in the professional era, has taken advantage and alienated the supporters
The passive nature of football supporters “There’s a mentality among supporters. They expect to be treated badly and accept it”
Why in times of recession would people spend hard earned money when it was in such short supply? Abiding to the consumer mentality that the corporate control has created

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

Commodification: for Better or for Worse?

Are professional athletes alienated towards the original values that uphold sport?

Historically, sport had been used among other things as a means of building character, promoting the spirit of fair play, and even nation building. Now in our contemporary society, sport is budding into one of the most forceful business and entertainment franchises within our capitalist culture.

My aim: to investigate how the commodifications of sport (through cultural advancement) have altered and enhanced the social value of modern day athletes

Territory: There is perhaps no better illustration of the commodifications of professional sport than the advancements of European football. As a result, my project is particularly focused on investigating the commodifications and cultural advancements of sport within European Football

Methodology: I intend to discuss my topic of the commodifications of sport through a hermeneutical critique, engaging on the evolvement of professional sport that has led the 21st century athlete into becoming a ‘celebrity’ rather than purely a competitor. My discussion is centred upon two key philosophical theories involving the works of Karl Marx (theory of alienation) and Martin Heidegger (a question concerning technology)

The objective of my discussion is a critical dialogue in which I seek to outline the cultural changes that have caused this apparent transformation within our society, and hence altered the social value of professional athletes today. This project aims to prove that through capitalist commerce and exploitation, the business of sport and its athletes become alienated, and additionally have lost a relationship towards the original bounds that compile sports and competition.

2011 Abstracts Stage 3

Linking Heidegger’s Essay The Question Concerning Technology to the Changes of Technology within Football from the 1960s to the Present Day

The aim of my project is to link Heidegger’s essay The Question Concerning Technology to the changes of technology within football from the 1960s to the present day.

From watching the 1966 World Cup Final, England vs. West Germany and the 2010 Tyne-Wear Derby, Newcastle United vs. Sunderland, and also with the use of some useful websites, I would be able to highlight the changes of technology within football. These are the six changes of technology within football which I have highlighted:

1. Picture Quality/Display
2. Replays
3. Capturing of the Game play/Emotions
4. Football boots
5. The Football
6. Co-commentary/Audio

I will explain Heidegger’s essay The Question Concerning Technology from his book The Questioning Concerning Technology, and relate the changes of technology within football to the relevant parts of his theory.

A few examples of linking Heidegger’s theory to the changes of technology within football

– Heidegger talks about how modern technology reveals but also challenges, and I linked this to the development in the replays from the 1960s to today in the use of different camera angles which reveals more of what just happened, e.g. of a goal scored or challenging a decision made by the referee.
– Heidegger talks about how nature’s energy has become a standing reserve and how nature is now a resource of technological exploitation. As well, we ourselves are situated in the standing reserve as human resources. I linked this to the development in camera angles in capturing more emotions in football today than in the 1960s, therefore making football more of a standing reserve. Why? More is revealed (captured) in the match for the television audience.

2010 Abstracts Stage 2

A League of Their Own: Can Professional Athletes Be Justified in Earning So Much Money?

MY AIM: To discuss the debate of whether or not athletes can be justified over earning so much money. This has been one of the biggest talking points within professional sport in the 21st century. My debate is primarily centred around the notions of ‘ethics’ and whether or not it is right or wrong for an athlete to earn the amount that they do. I therefore intend to look at this discussion from an ethical and economical point of view.

TERRITORY: I have decided to primarily focus on the NFL franchise in America, and the Football Premier League in England. These are two renowned leagues that have been well known to pay their athletes incredible salaries.

SOURCES: I intend to use four topics of discussion in attempt to dispute and support the justification of athletes’ salaries:
Thomas Hobbes – the State of Nature and Social Contract theory
Karl Marx – The fear of a capitalist crisis and the concept of Socialism
Milton Friedman – Business Ethics: what is the purpose of a business?
Friedrich Nietzsche – The will to power

2010 Abstracts Stage 2

Commodification: Has It Tarnished the Beautiful Game?

• Historically, sports existed ‘to promote aretê or human excellence which could be applied to almost any endeavour in life’.
• Contemporarily, the market forces of Capitalism have taken over and money has become the primary objective – football is the greatest example of this transition from a character building activity to a mass-market business.
• What, though, does this process of Commodification involve? George Bataille and Guy Debord will be used to cast enlightenment on this within the context of the Surrealist and Situationist Parties.
• Furthermore, has the footballer become tarnished by this process of Commodification? In assessing the effects this has on the professional footballer’s character, I shall be drawing on Schiller’s Aesthetic Education and its arguments regarding modern society’s obsession with specialists.
• Alistaire MacIntyre’s views on how man’s virtues should be able to be summoned and used in all situations will also be made relevant

Schiller: ‘‘[contemporary society encourages the footballer to be] nothing more than the living impression of the craft to which he devotes himself’’

MacIntyre: ‘‘someone who genuinely possesses a virtue can be expected to manifest it in very different types of situation’’.

2010 Abstracts Stage 3

“I Just Want to Climb Rocks. Is That too much to Ask?”

Can my life be defined by a sport?

“Climbing is a rich enough experience that it can be a valid focus for your life…. you can say I’m a rock climber and that, if anybody understands it, has as much value as anything else you can spend a day doing.”-Todd Skinner.

Project Object and Aims
The object I have chosen for my project is the way in which I centre my life around rock climbing.
In contemporary society, life tends to be primarily focused on one’s job. Activities such as climbing are defined as pastimes. My project aims to ascertain whether I can, in contemporary society, define myself by my sport. This is relevant to a wide audience, since, in my conclusions, climbing can be replaced with whatever one wishes to orient oneself towards.

The key thinkers I will investigate in my work are:

Manuel Castells who writes explicitly on the idea of “resistance” and “project” identities as a means of constructing real identity

Michel Foucault who formulates a theory of power which affects choosing an identity in contemporary society.

Gianni Vattimo advances the position of weak nihilism as a means of viewing a society which has a plurality of worldviews.

2009 Abstracts Stage 3

How has the Rise in Technology Changed the Way we View the Human Environment and Human Identity?

TERRITORY: West Ham United. AIM: In my investigation I wanted to see how the rise of technology has affected the human environment and identity. As a keen West Ham supporter I thought this would be an interesting place to start. From its humble origins as an amateur club to the rise of its top premiership I assumed this community has been subject to a lot of technological modifications over the years. Method: I examined how the club has changed from over 50 years ago in order to see the affect technological advancements have had with regards to the club; satellite television, the internet and advanced forms of transport illustrated how the human environment has turned into a global network. I also wanted to see how this has affected the players of West Ham United in order to see if the human subject has changed. After establishing this I could then see which philosophical theories were relevant to the past and present eras of West Ham United. I considered Kant’s theory of knowledge which places the rational human subject above the causal necessity of reality. This notion seemed to express how the individual in West Ham (the footballer and manager) related to the club in the past. I then decided to look at postmodern ideas on reality and the human subject. It expressed a more complex view of reality where the individual’s autonomy is undermined as man is unable to establish what is image and what is reality. I believed this expressed the organisation of West Ham and how the footballer relates to his environment in contemporary times. After examining both these attitudes I could then draw some conclusions about how we must view our human environment and human identity.

2009 Abstracts Stage 3

‘Mountains of the Mind’. Leisure, Thrill and the Nature of Human Existence

Object/Territory: I chose to study the sport of mountaineering with reference to the historical development and change in attitude towards it. I essentially wanted to provide a philosophical explanation behind the reason people take part in such a high risk sport.

Philosophers and Concepts: Immanuel Kant and Burke- The Theory of the Sublime Jean- Paul Sartre- Existential Freedom and Authentic Existence. Vertigo Theory. Martin Heidegger- Dasein, Being-towards-death.

By using the above philosophical concepts I intend to explain what makes mountaineering so appealing to the human mind and how these attitudes have changed over the course of time. I will take into account the history of the sport and the changing attitudes that have resulted in the change from a leisure activity to one that seeks a deeper, more satisfying thrill factor concerning human endurance. Ultimately I want to demonstrate that mountaineering provides fundamental experiences that are vital to the human condition and to our sense of self-understanding.

2008 Abstracts Stage 2

An Investigation into the Origins and Implications of Football Related Violence

• My aim in my project is to give a detailed discussion into the origins and implications of football related violence. In doing this I want to emphasise certain aspects of football related violence which make it such a serious problem. In researching this topic it became apparent that football violence is seen by most as being nothing more than physical outburst between alcohol induced ‘thugs’, I want to show that football related violence is much more than this. • In doing this I will give a detailed discussion on the origins and how the world wide problem of football related violence is seen as an ‘English disease’. From this point I will look at the implications of football related violence, for example, fascism and racism and related them to the work of George Bataille. This project will establish that acts of football related violence are much more than a ‘thugs’ battle.

2007 Abstracts Stage 2

Individualism vs Socialism: explored through the institution of football

Territory‐ Football, the supporters, the industry and its change in relation to society. Questions and Objectives‐ Explore why we wish to be part of a group, Is identity simply an external concept? To show the social importance of sport, football in particular and how it integrates but also divides us in society. It is a Working‐class game; does the team give males another source of pride in their identity? rather than in work for example. Is it more important to be a valuable part of society and ‘fit in’ or should you aim to be an individual? Ideas involving freedom, does it exist? Key sources: Sartre, Being and Nothingness; Freud, on individualism, psychoanalysis, Massenpsychologie und Ich‐Analyse; Nietzsche, various texts on individualism and socialism; Durkheim, Sociology, Institutional Analysis; Hargreaves, Sport, Power and Culture.

2007 Abstracts Stage 3

Foucault and Performance in Sport

Outline: The project will analyse extensively the philosophical theory of French philosopher, Michel Foucault and will demonstrate how his theories can be applied to performance in sport. Aim: To argue that philosophy, and in particular that of Michel Foucault, plays a significant role in performance in sport. Method: The following aspects of both Michel Foucault’s philosophy and the role they play within sport will be used to support my argument: – Discipline: Disciplinary power is spawned from and spawns in turn a whole series of techniques and knowledges of the body. Discipline, both of the self and with respect to hierarchy, is crucial in sport – Knowledge: Elements formed in a regular manner by discursive practice and which are indispensable to the constitution of a science can be called ‘knowledge’; vital in the world of sport – Power: Power is not an institution, and not a structure; neither is it a certain strength we are endowed with; it is the name that one attributes to a complex strategical situation in a particular society. Like discipline, respect must be paid to this concept for success to be achieved – The Self: Interaction between the self and others, the technologies of individual domination and technologies of the self. Understanding the self and other individuals will heighten performance in sport – Discourse: Essentially referring to statements, the rules by which they are governed and their subsequent circulation and exclusion – ‘Mind Games’: How the words a coach uses can influence the performance of not only his own team, but also other coaches, players and sporting authorities; strongly linked to Foucault’s notion of Discourse – Performance: How all the above themes ultimately influence sporting performance. Sources include: Foucault, Sport and Exercise – Pirkko Markula & Richard Pringle, Michel Foucault – Sara Mills and Discipline and Punish – Michel Foucault. Information collated from the internet, magazines, newspapers and television will also be used to illustrate my project

2007 Abstracts Stage 2

Why do many people risk their lives for the thrill of surfing?

Territory: This project will focus on the development of surfing from its roots in Hawaiian culture to the position we find it in today. The key points in this progression will provide indications of the motivating factors behind the world’s top surfers. Object: • Kelly Slater – 8 Time world champion and arguably the greatest competitive surfer of all time • Laird Hamilton – Big wave pioneer who helped develop tow-in surfing Philosophy: The work of Hobbes and Hegel will form the foundation of the philosophical content. Hobbes’ social theory will help to place surfing in context with the ever changing situations that are a result of the cultures we experience. However, his concept of the state of nature in which we find humans stripped down to their most primitive form provides a strong argument to suggest extreme sports such as surfing are irrational and unnecessarily dangerous. The analysis of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit will provide an alternative approach to nature of risk taking.