The intersubjective accomplishment of power by medical professionals within unregulated combat sports

Alex Channon, Christopher Matthews, Mathew Hillier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The lack of power experienced by medical professionals working in various sport settings has been consistently evidenced by sociologists researching the provision of medical care to athletes. In this paper, which focuses on the work of medical professionals within unregulated combat sports in England, we extend this discussion by focusing on the means by which such professionals attempt to (re)construct power within contexts where it cannot be taken for granted. To explore this issue, we conducted 200 hours of observational fieldwork at competitive combat sports events, along with interviews with 25 medical professionals with experience in this field, 7 combat sports referees and 9 event promoters and their staff. Employing the concept of power as ‘intersubjective accomplishment’, we argue that the influence necessary for medical professionals to undertake their work must be actively won within specific situations, principally relying on their ability to tactically interact with various other people. In so doing, we evidence both successes and failures of medical staff in this respect, arguing that such informal means of securing power make caring for the health of combat athletes a challenging proposition.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-20
    JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
    Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2020


    • sports medicine
    • combat sports
    • power
    • interaction
    • symbolic interactionism
    • sport sociology
    • sociology of sport
    • Boxing
    • Mixed Martial Arts
    • kickboxing
    • Sociology of professions
    • martial arts


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