Dr Belinda Wheaton

Belinda Wheaton

Associate Professor

Qualifications: PhD.

About Belinda

I joined the University in February 2015 as Associate Professor in the Sociology of Sport and Leisure. Previously I was a Reader in Sport and Leisure Cultures  at the University of Brighton, UK. I teach on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in Te Huataki Waiora Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance.

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) .

Papers Taught

Research Supervised

Postgraduate supervision: I am willing to consider the supervision of students interested in working in my areas of expertise  All current students have won University of Waikato PhD Scholarships. Please do get in touch. Current PhD students:

Damien Puddle

John McFarlane

Nida Ahmad

Neftalie Williams

Julie Bryce

Please see Health Sport and Human Performance Faculty website for details of their projects.

Research Interests

My research interests lie broadly within the sociology of sport, leisure 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:

Youth Perceptions of the Olympic Games: Attitudes Towards Action Sports at the YOG and Olympic Games' with Dr Holly Thorpe, (Also University of Waikato) funded by the IOC's Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme 2015/6. For an overview of this project see our interview on National Radio aired Thursday July 16th (

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

  • Säfvenbom, R., Wheaton, B., & Agans, J. P. (2018). ‘How can you enjoy sports if you are under control by others?’ Self-organized lifestyle sports and youth development. Sport in Society, 1-20. doi:10.1080/17430437.2018.1472242

  • Olive, R., Roy, G., & Wheaton, B. (2018). Stories of surfing: Surfing, space and subjectivity/intersectionality. In Surfing, Sex, Genders and Sexualities (pp. 148-167). doi:10.4324/9781315201238

  • Wheaton, B., & Thorpe, H. (2018). Action sports, the Olympic Games, and the opportunities and challenges for gender equity: The cases of surfing and skateboarding. Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 019372351878123. doi:10.1177/0193723518781230

  • Puddle, D., Wheaton, B., & Thorpe, H. (2018). The glocalization of parkour: a New Zealand/Aotearoa case study. Sport in Society, 1-18. doi:10.1080/17430437.2018.1441010

Find more research publications by Belinda Wheaton


Extreme/Alternative Sports; 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, AProf Belinda 6205 bwheaton TT.7.16 Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Perfo

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