A confessional representation of ethnographic fieldwork in an academy sport setting

Harry Bowles, Scott Fleming, Andrew Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (SciVal)
80 Downloads (Pure)


Methodological “confessions” are an established genre of ethnographic writing and have contributed to the development of reflexivity in the practice of qualitative research. Yet despite their prevalence, methodological reflections on the specific challenges of conducting ethnography in institutional sport settings have not been developed. The aim of this article, therefore, is to provide a confessional representation of ethnographic fieldwork in a male academy sport environment in the United Kingdom which exhibited several institutional characteristics. Five images are used as stimuli for further methodological reflection in order to illustrate and analyze some practical, ethical, and relational qualities of ethnographic fieldwork. The interpretation and analysis draw attention to strategic ways ethnographers adapt their ethnographic presence in response to specific contextual challenges and constraints. The article concludes with a series of recommendations to guide ethnographic fieldworkers (especially novice ethnographers) in settings of a similar nature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-715
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Contemporary Ethnography
Issue number5
Early online date21 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to the constructive comments provided by the anonymous reviewers. The final product is, of course, our own responsibility. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


  • academy
  • confession
  • cricket
  • fieldwork
  • sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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