Ramón is a Professor in the College of Sport, Health and Engineering and leads the Sport in Society Research Program in IHES. He also holds a Professorial Chair in Sociology of Sport at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Prior to joining Victoria University in 2014, Ramón was a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at La Trobe University, where he was also Deputy Director of the La Trobe Refugee Research Centre.

Ramón is a sociologist whose interests focus on questions of social cohesion, conflict and social change. He has two established fields of research that address these questions: the sociology of sport and the sociology of terrorism. He has published widely on these topics in refereed journals, books and book collections.

The bulk of his current research focuses on socio-cultural aspects and impacts of sport, with a particular focus on the intersections of diversity, social cohesion and sport. Additionally, Ramón conducts internationally recognised research on violent extremism and ‘lone wolf’ terrorism.

Ramón has taught sociology, anthropology, management, criminology, sports studies and conflict studies at undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Areas of expertise

  • Diversity & social inclusion
  • Football hooliganism
  • Lone wolf terrorism
  • Sociology of sport
  • Sport in Society Research Program (ISEAL)
  • Sport for development
  • Violent extremism

Contact details

+61 (3) 9919 4683

Recent publications

Refereed journal articles

Knijnik, J. & Spaaij, R. (2017) No Harmony: Football Fandom and Everyday Multiculturalism in Western Sydney. Journal of Intercultural Studies 38(1): 36-53.

Storr, R. & Spaaij, R. (2017) ‘I guess it’s kind of elitist’: The formation and mobilisation of cultural, social and physical capital in youth sport volunteering. Journal of Youth Studies 20(4): 487-502.

Spaaij, R. & Thiel, A. (2017) Big Data: Critical Questions for Sport and Society. European Journal for Sport and Society 14(1): 1-4.

Spaaij, R. (2016) Terrorism and Security at the Olympics: Empirical Trends and Evolving Research Agendas. The International Journal of the History of Sport 33(4): 451-468.

Spaaij, R., Oxford, S. & Jeanes, R. (2016) Transforming Communities through Sport? Critical Pedagogy and Sport for Development. Sport, Education and Society 21(4): 570-587.


Hamm, M.S. & Spaaij, R. (2017) The Age of Lone Wolf Terrorism. New York: Columbia University Press.

Hughson, J., Moore, K., Spaaij, R. & Maguire, J. (eds) (2016) The Routledge Handbook of Football Studies. London: Routledge.

Van Sterkenburg, J. & Spaaij, R. (eds) (2015) Mediated Football: Representations and Audience Receptions of Race/Ethnicity, Gender and Nation. London: Routledge.

Spaaij, R., Magee, J. & Jeanes, R. (2014) Sport and Social Exclusion in Global Society. London and New York: Routledge.

Spaaij, R. & Burleson, C. (eds) (2013) The Olympic Movement and the Sport of Peacemaking.London and New York: Routledge.

Spaaij, R. (2012) Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism: Global Patterns, Motivations and Prevention. New York: Springer.

Refereed chapters

Hamm, M.S. & Spaaij, R. (2016) Paradigmatic Case Studies and Prison Ethnography: Future Directions in Terrorism Research. In J. Freilich and G. LaFree (eds) Wiley Handbook on the Criminology of Terrorism (pp. 206-220). New York: Wiley.

Spaaij, R. and Testa, A. (2016) Hooliganism. In J. Hughson, K. Moore, R. Spaaij and J. Maguire(eds) The Routledge Handbook of Football Studies (pp. 365-375). London: Routledge.  

Spaaij, R. (2015) Lone Actors: Challenges and Opportunities for Countering Violent Extremism. In Y. Sharan (ed.) Lone Actors: An Emerging Security Threat (NATO Science for Peace &Security Series) (pp. 120-131). Amsterdam: IOS Press.

Spaaij, R. (2015) Sport and Violence. In R. Giulianotti (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Sociology of
Sport (pp. 324-334). London: Routledge. Jeanes, R. & Spaaij, R. (2015) Examining the Educator: Toward a Critical Pedagogy of Sport for
Development and Peace. In L. Hayhurst, T. Kay & M. Chawansky (eds) Beyond Sport for Development (pp. 155-168). London: Routledge.

Conference presentations

Spaaij, R. (2016) 'Becoming at Home across Borders? Sport, Refugees and the Politics of Belonging', Invited session, 21st Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science(ECSS), Vienna, Austria.

Jeanes, R. & Spaaij, R. (2016) ‘Because it is 2016: Culture Change in Community Sports Clubs’, Keynote address, 2016 Sports Without Borders Summit, Melbourne, Australia, 6 May 2016.

Hamm, M.S. & Spaaij, R. (2015) “Lone Wolves and Lone Actors: Patterns of Radicalization”, invited presentation at the Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Lessons from Canada, the UK and the US Conference, US Department of Justice/National Institute of Justice, Arlington,Virginia, USA.

Spaaij, R. (2015) “Sport and the Public Good - Rio to Toronto to Rio: Reflections on the Sport-for-Development Movement”, invited panel presentation, 2015 Pan American Sport & Exercise Research Summit (PANEX 2015), Toronto, Canada.

Spaaij, R. (2015) “Sport and Belonging”, invited presentation, 2015 Pan American Sport &Exercise Research Summit (PANEX 2015), Toronto, Canada.

View Ramón's full publication list in the Victoria University Research Repository.

Postgraduate research students & fellows


5 Honours students, 11 Masters students,1 PhD student to completion.

Current supervision

5 PhD students, 4 Master students, 1 Honours student, 2 Postdoctoral Research Fellows.

Research grants

2015: Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. Hemphill, D., Spaaij, R., Fry, C., Wilson-Evered, E., Stewart, B., Westerbeek, H., Payne, W. Victorian sport integrity capability analysis.

2015-2018: DST Group – VU Industry Postdoctoral Research Fellowship Program, Victoria University & Defense Science and Technology Group. Grossman, M., Spaaij, R., Agostino, K. Understanding the relationship between online and offline social influence in radicalisation leading to violent extremism.

2014-2017: Australian Research Council Linkage Project (LP130100366). Spaaij, R., Farquharson, K., Gorman, S., Jeanes, R., Lusher, D. Participation versus performance: Managing (dis)ability, gender and cultural diversity in junior sport.

2013-2015: Youth & Identity Major Grant Scheme, Utrecht University. Van Bottenburg, M., Spaaij, R., Van Aken, M., Van Hoof, A., Giesen, I., Rijnhout, R., Koster, M., Vermeulen, J., Claringbould, I. Violent behaviour among young people on the football field.

2012-2015: National Institute of Justice (USA) (2012-ZA-BX-0001). Hamm, M., Spaaij, R. Lone wolf terrorism in America: Using knowledge of radicalization pathways to forge prevention strategies.

Professional memberships

  • International Sociological Association
  • The Australian Sociological Association
  • International Sociology of Sport Association
  • Association for the Study of Sport and the European Union
  • Sport & Society

Appearances in the media

Ramón is a regular contributor to international, national and local media. He has contributed to a wide range of media in countries such as Australia, UK, USA, the Netherlands, Brazil, Spain, Germany, France, Greece, Belgium, Republic of Ireland and Norway.