Negotiating insider–outsider status in ethnographic sports research

Danielle Sarver Coombs, Anne C. Osborne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


When engaging with ethnographic research to understand symbols associated with a club and its fan base, researchers need to reflect on the role of the ethnographer and the extent to which we can or should immerse ourselves in the field, and the importance of the insider–outsider balance. This article details how we came to understand our position as American women studying a hypermasculine English sport, including how we “worked the hyphen” (Fine, 1994). For two years, we conducted research with fans and employees of Barclays Premier League side Aston Villa Football Club. While each of these characteristics (being American and being women) might individually have been a disadvantage, we found that being double outsiders helped us open doors and gain access. This experience allowed us to meaningfully understand the symbols that create, maintain, and mediate fandom within the AVFC community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-259
Number of pages17
JournalSport in Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies


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