Dr Brent McDonald is a senior lecturer in Sociology. Having played rugby union in Japan, Brent developed an interest in the cross cultural influences on sport. His PhD utilised sociological perspectives (particularly those of Pierre Bourdieu) to examine the position of sport in Japanese education. His research into Japanese sport has been published in multiple international journals and has focused on areas such as Japanese masculinities, embodied learning and spiritual capital, the 'secondary' curriculum, and the effects of globalisation on Japanese sporting practice.

A major area of Brent's teaching and research is in the field of sport, inclusion and identity. In particular he engages in a critical analysis of dominant logic and normative practices of sport, coaching and sport cultures. With over 20 years experience as a player and coach of both rowing and rugby, Brent has an insider knowledge of various embodied practices that serve to include and exclude participation on the basis of sexuality, ethnicity, age and gender.

He is currently conducting research into the intersection of migration and sport participation with a specific focus on Pacific islanders. Other areas of interest include pedagogical processes in coaching, youth sports, diversity and inclusion, and masculinities.

Recent publications

Refereed journal articles

McDonald, B., Belanji, B. and Derham, L. (2012) It's in the Blood: Negotiations of the Australian Rugby 'Field' by Pacific Islanders. TASA Conference referred proceedings.

McDonald, B. and Eagles, D. (2012) Matthew Mitcham: Narratives of a Gay Sporting Icon. Celebrity Studies, Vol. 3, No. 3, 297-318.

Kawai, K. and McDonald, B. (2012) New Movements in Japanese Baseball: Globalisation, Individualism and Scandal. International Journal of the History of Sport, 29, 16, 1-15.

McDonald, B. (2009) Learning Masculinity through Japanese University Rowing: joge kankei and hierarchical Relationships. Sociology of Sport Journal, Vol. 26, no.3, pp.425-442

McDonald, B. (2007) Globalisation, Diversity and Changes to Practice and Identity in Japanese University Rowing Clubs. International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, Vol.2, Nos.1/2, pp.134-145


Coakley, J., Hallinan, C. & McDonald, B. (2011) Sports in Society: Sociological issues and controversies. 2nd Edition, Sydney: McGraw-Hill

Refereed chapters

McDonald, B. & Burke, M. (2011) Foucaultian subjectification and Japanese University rowers, in M. Burke, C. Hanlon & C. Thomen (Eds.) Sport, Culture and Society: Approaches, Methods and Perspectives, Hawthorn: Maribyrnong Press, pp. 203-218.

Sylvester, K & McDonald, B. (2011) Japanese Women's Kendo: A history of participation, in M. Burke, C. Hanlon & C. Thomen (Eds.) Sport, Culture and Society: Approaches, Methods and Perspectives, Hawthorn: Maribyrnong Press, pp. 163-180.

McDonald, B. & Komuku, H. (2008) Japanese Educational Sport and the Reproduction of Identity In: Hallinan, C & Jackson, S. (Eds.) Sport and Cultural Diversity in a Globalized World. Oxford UK: Emerald

Conference presentations

McDonald, B. (2011) Living at the boathouse: Identity construction within a Japanese University Rowing club, Japanese Studies Association of Australia Biennial Conference – Melbourne, Australia

McDonald, B. (2011) The politics of Pacific Islander identity in Australia: Victorian rugby, embodied capital and the construction of Pacific islander identity. 7th International Sociology of sport World congress – Havana, Cuba

Sylvester, K., & McDonald, B (2010) 'Samurai Women: The construction of gendered identity in Japanese women's kendo'. 4th International Working Group for Women in Sport Conference – Sydney, Australia         

McDonald, B. (2010) The Politics of Polynesian Identity: White multiculturalism meets 'Pacific Exotica'. Worlds of Football Conference – Melbourne, Australia

McDonald, B. (2009) 'Polynesian Identity: Youth Issues and Rugby as Social Programming'. 6th International Sociology of Sport World Congress – Utrecht, Netherlands

Unit coordination

  • AHE1203 Social Dimensions of Sport and Exercise
  • AHE3111 Sport and Social Analysis
  • AHS1107 Sport, Leisure and Society
  • AHE2250 Sport Coaching Principles

Postgraduate research students and fellows


2012: Caitlin Honey, The Impact of an Animated Feature Film on Play of Girls aged between 5 and 12

2012: Nicholas Chudoschnik, Redskins Basketball Program: An evaluation of the impacts and effects of an 'intervention' basketball program on 'at risk' young men.

2011: Lachlan Grieve, Embodied learning through Japanese High School Rugby

2010: Kate Sylvester, Gender and the Development of Women's Kendo in Japan

Current supervision (PhD):

Kate Sylvester, Japanese Women's Kendo: An Analysis of gendered identity in the university Kendo bukatsu.

Alistair John, Sports City: A critical analysis of Melbourne's sportscape

Professional membership

  • International Sociology of Sport Association
  • North American Society for the Sociology of Sport
  • Japanese Studies Association of Australia
  • The Australian Sociological Association

Areas of expertise

  • Identity
  • Japanese studies
  • Masculinities
  • Sociology
  • Sport and inclusion
  • Sport and migration

Contact details