Dr. Belinda Wheaton

Belinda Wheaton


Qualifications: PhD.

About Belinda

I am a cultural sociologist teaching on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Te Huataki Waiora School of Health, focused on sport and social justice, leisure and wellbeing, sport and the media, and qualitative research methodologies. I joined the University in February 2015 bringing almost 20 years experience working in University in England (London and Brighton).

I am best known for my research on the Politics of identity in lifestyle sport, which include a monograph, The Cultural Politics of Lifestyle Sports (2013), and edited collections including Understanding Lifestyle Sport (2004), and The Representation and Consumption of Lifestyle Sport (2012). I am also co-editor of The Palgrave Handbook of Feminism and Sport, Leisure and Physical Education (2017) and  Leisure and Environmental Politics (2013) .

My current research is focused on: the relationships between human and ocean wellbeing; lifestyle sport cultures, action sport and the Olympics, qualitative methodologies and public pedagogy.

I am Managing editor of Annals of Leisure Research, The Journal of the Australian and NewZealand Association of Leisure Studies

Papers Taught

Research Supervised

Postgraduate supervision: I am willing to consider the supervision of students interested in working in my areas of expertise, including:

action/lifestyle sports

blue spaces - human-environmental relationships, environmental politics and practice.

sport, inequality  and social justice

sport and the media

feminist research: sport, popular culture.

Many students have won University of Waikato PhD Scholarships. Please do get in touch.

Current PhD students:

John McFarlane

Julie Bryce

Marg Cosgrove

Crag Hillgrove

Please see Health Faculty website for details of their projects.

Research Interests

My research interests lie broadly within the sociology of sport, leisure, health and popular culture, adopting various qualitative methodologies, from ethnography to media analysis. Feminist sensibilities and issues of power and inequity underpin my research and teaching.

I am best known for my research on the cultural politics of 'lifestyle sports cultures'. I am also interested in and have also led international projects on understanding the role of informal and lifestyle sports in addressing sport, health and youth policy objectives.

Recent and current  projects include:

Action sports and the Olympics: I was co-PI on Youth Perceptions of the Olympic Games: Attitudes Towards Action Sports at the YOG and Olympic Games' with Dr Holly Thorpe, funded by the IOC's Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme 2015/6.  We are in phase 2 of this project in the run-up to Toykio 2020

Coastal Blue space, health and well-being

Surfing, identity  and ageing,

sport and environmentalism

Recent Publications

  • Wheaton, B., & Mansfield, L. (2020). Visions for Annals of Leisure Research: optimism, collaboration and excellence. Annals of Leisure Research, 23(3), 269-273. doi:10.1080/11745398.2020.1784015

  • Wheaton, B., Waiti, J., Cosgriff, M., & Burrows, L. (2019). Coastal blue space and wellbeing research: looking beyond western tides. Leisure Studies, 1-13. doi:10.1080/02614367.2019.1640774

  • Thorpe, H., & Wheaton, B. (2019). The Olympic Games, Agenda 2020 and action sports: the promise, politics and performance of organisational change. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics. doi:10.1080/19406940.2019.1569548

  • Wheaton, B. (2019). サーフィン・スケートボード・パルクール ライフスタイルスポーツの文化と政治 (The cultural politics of lifestyle sports).

Find more research publications by Belinda Wheaton


Children's and Youth Sport; Environmental Policy and Politics; Extreme/Alternative Sports; Gender; Social Issues in Sport; Social Movements; Social Science Research; Sociology; Sport Education; Sport Governance; Sport Science; Sports; Women and Gender Studies; Youth

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Wheaton, Prof Belinda 6205 bwheaton TT.7.16 Te Huataki Waiora - School of Health

You can contact staff by:
  • Calling +64 7 838 4466  select option 1, then enter the extension
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