Professor Holly Thorpe
Associate Dean, Postgraduate
Holly is a Professor and Associate Dean Postgraduate in Te Huataki Waiora / Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance at the University of Waikato. She works primarily (though not exclusively) in the field of the sociology of sport, with her research interests including action sports, gender, female athlete health, critical Sport for Development Studies, social theory, and qualitative methods.
An award-winning sociologist, she is a recipient of both Fulbright and Leverhulme Fellowships. In 2018, Holly was awarded the Royal Society Early Career Research Excellence Award for Social Sciences, and made a Fellow of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport.
In 2016, Thorpe won a three year Marsden Fast-Start grant focused on youth engagement with informal sports in sites of war, conflict and disaster. As part of this project she developed the Action Sport for Development and Peace organisation, an online community for those working in ASDP NGOs and projects around the world. That same year she also gave a TedX talk on the topic of 'Action Sports for a Better World'.
Professor Thorpe is the author of Transnational Mobilities in Action Sport Cultures (2014), Snowboarding Bodies in Theory and Practice (2011), and co-editor of the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Extreme Sports (with Professor Douglas Booth) and the Greenwood Extreme Sport Series. She recently co-edited the Routledge Handbook of Physical Cultural Studies (with Professors Michael Silk and David Andrews), and Women in Action Sport Cultures: Identity, Experiences, and Politics (with Dr Rebecca Olive), and is currently co-editing a book on new materialism, sport and physical culture (with Joshua Newman and David Andrews) and new sporting femininities (with Kim Toffoletti and Jessica Francombe-Webb). She is also co-editor with Toffoletti and Francombe-Webb of a new series with Palgrave Macmillan titled New Femininities in Digital, Physical and Sporting Cultures
Holly currently serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Sociology, and on the editorial board for the International Review for the Sociology of Sport.
She was recently co-Primary Investigator with Associate Professor Belinda Wheaton on an International Olympic Committee Advanced Research Programme Grant exploring youths' attitudes towards the Olympic Games, with a focus on action sports. Thorpe presented their findings at the IOC in Switzerland 2016, and this work played an important role in informing the IOC's inclusion of surfing, skateboarding and sport climbing into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Thorpe and Wheaton are currently writing a book based on this research, and continuing to explore the effects of Olympic inclusion on action sport cultures and industries.
Associate Professor Thorpe manages the University of Waikato SiF Home of Cycling Research Initiative, including four post-doctoral fellows over four years. She is also co-founder of Fuel Aotearoa, an educational website aimed at empowering athletic girls and women with accessible knowledge about Female Athlete Triad related issues, and has organized two national interdisciplinary Female Athlete Health Symposiums (2015, 2017). Holly is an inaugural member of the High Performance Sport WHISPA (Women's Health in Sport) working group, and continues to explore transdisciplinary approaches for new ways of understanding the health of women in sport and exercise.
Holly is passionate about working with graduate students at Masters and PhD levels, particularly those interested in sport and gender, new approaches to understanding the complexities of embodied sporting and fitness experiences, youth sport, action/extreme sports, and/or Sport for Development and Peace Studies, and welcomes enquiries.
Project Title / Topic
Hamish Crocket* *indicates on scholarship
Playing with ethics? A Foucauldian examination of the construction of ethical subjectivities in Ultimate Frisbee
The Experiences of Finnish Snowboarders
Understanding the 'National Sport for New Zealand Women': A Socio-Spatial Analysis of Netball
Sport in the Waikato c1897-1974: Narratives of Play, Identity and Belonging
Supportive environments for active living? A case study of local government discourses of the built and social environments and physical activity
Young women’s negotiation of multiple fields of femininity and physicality in physical activity and Physical Education in an international school in Taiwan
Netball in the lives of New Zealand women: An intergenerational study
Getting Deep: Experiences of New Zealand Bodyboarders
Understanding female secondary school students’ experiences of outdoor education in Aotearoa New Zealand
Topic: Muslim sportswomen's use of social media
Topic: New Zealand sex workers experiences of sport and fitness
Topic: Photography, place-making and the Te Awa River-Ride
Topic: Skateboarding and the experiences of Black and Minorities in the United States of America
Topic: Glocalization and Parkour in New Zealand
Topic: The Yogic Lifestyle in Contemporary Society
Topic: Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) in Elite Athlete Populations
Topic: Towards New Understandings of Women’s Embodied Fitness Experiences
Topic: Management strategies towards legitimate action sport federations: a national structure for Skateboarding New Zealand.
Thorpe, H., & Clark, M. (2019). Gut Feminism, new materialisms and sportwomen’s embodied health: the case of RED-S in endurance athletes. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. doi:10.1080/2159676X.2019.1631879
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
Schofield, K. L., Thorpe, H. A., & Sims, S. T. (2019). Myths and Methodologies: Resting metabolic rate prediction equations and the validity to assess energy deficiency in the athlete population.. Experimental physiology. doi:10.1113/ep087512 Open Access version: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12754
Thorpe, H., & Dumont, G. (2018). Corrigendum: The professionalization of action sports: mapping trends and future directions. Sport in Society, 21(9), ci. doi:10.1080/17430437.2018.1456829
Find more research publications by Holly Thorpe
Advertising and Sport; Children's and Youth Sport; Culture; Extreme/Alternative Sports; Gender; Globalisation; Health; Race and Gender in Sport; Social Issues in Sport; Social Science Research; Sociology; Sports; Tourism; Women and Gender Studies; Youth
Contact DetailsEmail: email@example.com