Journal Article

Analysing sport policy and politics: the promises and challenges of synthesising methodological approaches


This article reflects upon the potential analytical utility of synthesising contrasting methodological frameworks when conducting research on sport policy and politics, with specific reference to methods derived from the fields of critical discourse analysis, political discourse analysis and narrative analysis. In particular, this article critically reflects upon the political discourse analysis framework proposed by Isabela Fairclough and Norman Fairclough (2012), and the narrative analysis framework proposed by Margaret Somers (1994), drawing upon the findings of research which synthesised these distinct yet complementary analytical frameworks. With its central emphasis on the content and production of political discourse relating to the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Scottish independence referendum, the methodological processes used in this thesis focused upon the identification of recurrent discursive forms from primary and secondary data sources including interviews with political actors, speech transcripts, manifestos, policy documents and press releases. Given the methodological synthesis evident in this approach, this article firstly provides a discussion of the paradigmatic assumptions of this analytical synthesis. Discussion then focuses on the provision of a more detailed outline of the Fairclough and Fairclough (2012) and Somers (1994) frameworks, and an explanation of the synthesis of the specific analytical frameworks adopted and the specific empirical methods employed. Finally, this article provides a reflexive critique of the relative merits of the chosen methodology, with specific consideration given to the promises and challenges of synthesising analytical frameworks in a similar fashion in future research within the field of sport policy and politics.

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Whigham, Stuart
Bairner, Alan

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences\Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work


Year of publication: 2018
Date of RADAR deposit: 2018-03-02

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