Section: Overview
Key publications
Research funding
Supervising & teaching

Key details

Areas of expertise

  • Sociology of sport
  • Race and sport
  • Diversity and social inclusion
  • Migration and sport
  • Japanese studies

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

About Brent Mcdonald

Brent McDonald is a senior lecturer and research fellow in the Institute for Health and Sport and a member of the Sport, Diversity and Social Change Research Group. His research focuses on two clearly identified areas; the sociology of sport and Japanese studies. The interest in Japanese studies emanates from his experiences of playing rugby in Japan in the mid-1990s and his PhD examined the role of sports clubs in Japanese universities as a site for socialisation and embodied learning. He held a visiting professor position at Doshisha University in 2013 and has been an invited speaker to several Japanese universities including Waseda, Meiji and the University of Tsukuba.

Brent’s research in the sociology of sport has concentrated on race, migration and identity, specifically contextualised within post-colonial Australian society. Driven by a social justice agenda, his work seeks to deconstruct dominant and common-sense notions of diversity, inclusion and race, and in doing so understand persistent inequities and exclusionary practices that occur in sport, exercise, and physical education spaces. His research directly informs his teaching practice in the College of Sport and Exercise Science.

Brent is the Vice President of the International Sociology of Sport Association, and co-founder and co-convener of the Sport Thematic Group for the Australian Sociological Association.


  • PhD, Victoria University, Australia, 2005
  • BAppSc, (Hons), Victoria University, Australia, 1998
  • BA, Monash University, Australia, 1994

Key publications

Year Citation
2020 John, A., & McDonald, B. (200501). How elite sport helps to foster and maintain a neoliberal culture: The branding of Melbourne, Australia. Urban Studies, 57(6), (1184-1200).

doi: 10.1177/0042098019830853

2019 McDonald, B., Rodriguez, L., & George, J. R. (190818). If it weren t for rugby I d be in prison now : Pacific Islanders, rugby and the production of natural spaces. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 45(11), (1919-1935).

doi: 10.1080/1369183X.2018.1492909

2019 McDonald, B., Spaaij, R., & Dukic, D. (190603). Moments of social inclusion: asylum seekers, football and solidarity. Sport in Society, 22(6), (935-949).

doi: 10.1080/17430437.2018.1504774

2019 Spaaij, R., Broerse, J., Oxford, S., Luguetti, C., McLachlan, F., McDonald, B., Klepac, B., Lymbery, L., Bishara, J., & Pankowiak, A. (190101). Sport, Refugees, and Forced Migration: A Critical Review of the Literature.. Frontiers in sports and active living, 1

doi: 10.3389/fspor.2019.00047

2017 McDonald, B., & Kawai, K. (170403). Punishing coaching: bukatsud and the normalisation of coach violence. Japan Forum, 29(2), (196-217).

doi: 10.1080/09555803.2016.1213761

2017 Dukic, D., McDonald, B., & Spaaij, R. (170101). Being able to play: Experiences of social inclusion and exclusion within a football team of people seeking asylum. Social Inclusion, 5(2PracticeandResearch), (101-110).

doi: 10.17645/si.v5i2.892

2016 McDonald, B. (160402). Coaching whiteness: stories of Pacifica exotica in Australian high school rugby. Sport, Education and Society, 21(3), (465-482).

doi: 10.1080/13573322.2014.935318

2014 McDonald, B., & Sylvester, K. (140101). Learning to get drunk: The importance of drinking in Japanese university sports clubs. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 49(3-4), (331-345).

doi: 10.1177/1012690213506584

2013 McDonald, B. (130601). The reproduction of biological 'race' through physical education textbooks and curriculum. European Physical Education Review, 19(2), (183-198).

doi: 10.1177/1356336X13486052

2005 McDonald, B., & Hallinan, C. (050601). Seishin habitus: Spiritual capital and Japanese rowing. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 40(2), (187-200).

doi: 10.1177/1012690205057197

Research funding for the past 5 years

Please note:

  • Funding is ordered by the year the project commenced and may continue over several years.
  • Funding amounts for contact research are not disclosed to maintain commercial confidentiality.
  • The order of investigators is not indicative of the role they played in the research project.

The Change Makers Project: Empowering Football Clubs on the Journey to 50/50
From: Change our Game Research Grant Program
Investigators: Dr Fiona Mclachlan, Dr Carla Nascimento luguetti
For period: 2020-2021

Evaluation of Gender Inclusion Strategy and Practices
From: Wyndham Basketball Ltd.
Investigators: Dr Fiona Mclachlan
For period: 2019-2019
Not disclosed

Supervision of research students at VU

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

Currently supervised research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
2 PhD Associate supervisor
3 PhD Principal supervisor
1 Masters by Research Associate supervisor

Currently supervised research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (2) Associate supervisor
PhD (3) Principal supervisor
Masters by Research (1) Associate supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
1 Masters by Research Principal supervisor
4 PhD Principal supervisor
1 PhD Associate supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

Students & level Role
Masters by Research (1) Principal supervisor
PhD (4) Principal supervisor
PhD (1) Associate supervisor

Teaching activities & experience

Brent is currently the Course Chair for the:

He also teaches a variety of other units in the Sport Coaching Major and Exercise Science Degree, and convenes:

He supervises a dynamic group of post-graduate students, organising a variety of methods workshops, guest speakers, and writing retreats. He has also supervised 12 honours students.

Key academic roles

Dates Role Department / Organisation
Jan 2016 - Dec 2019
Vice President
International Sociology of Sport Association
Dates Role & Department/Organisation
Jan 2016 -
Dec 2019
Vice President
International Sociology of Sport Association

Keynote and invited speeches

Year Title/Description

Ethnographic approaches to understanding Japanese masculinities in sport: Reflecting the shift in the gender studies of sport

Keynote Address, Japan Society of Sport Sociology, Annual Congress, March, Fukuyama, Japan.


More than just 3 lines: Why Sport and Exercise Science needs a critical socio-cultural approach

Sport, Exercise and Culture: Curriculum Innovations and Provocations. Centre for Sport and Society, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland

Professional memberships

  • Co-convener Sport Thematic Group, The Australian Sociological Association
  • Academic Member, International Sociology Association
  • Vice President, International Sociology of Sport Association