Holly Thorpe CV 2016

For the latest updates on my research-related travels, publications and presentations, please go to the ‘News’ section of this website.

I was lucky enough to grow up in Gisborne–a small beach town on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. My parents were passionate windsurfers and surfers, and always valued healthy living and physical activity. My current research interests and lifestyle reflect my upbringing immersed in outdoor environments and action sports cultures. Today, I live in Raglan, a small surfing community on the West Coast of the North Island, a mere 45 minute drive from the University of Waikato where I am a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sport and Leisure Studies. Here I teach three courses in the sociology and social-psychology of sport, exercise and leisure, and am actively researching and writing on youth culture, action sports, gender, and social theory.

After leaving high school in the late 1990s, I spent five years pursuing a career as an athlete and instructor in the snowboarding culture in New Zealand and the United States. During this time, I was simultaneously completing my undergraduate degree in Physical Education at the University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand), with an exchange year spent at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada).

Between 2004 and 2008 I completed my PhD at the University of Waikato (Hamilton, New Zealand) under the tutelage of Professor Douglas Booth, Dr Toni Bruce, and Dr Richard Pringle. My thesis was a sociological investigation into contemporary youth culture, focusing on snowboarding culture. A book titled Snowboarding Bodies in Theory and Practice that expands upon my doctoral research was published in April 2011 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Since my doctoral studies, my research focus has broadened beyond snowboarding culture, yet I remain deeply passionate about doing critical research that seeks to understand and explain the various forms of power operating in our society, and try to bring these issues to light via an array of contemporary sport and physical cultural case studies. My past and present research interests include:

  • Youth culture
  • Action/extreme/lifestyle sports
  • Travel, tourism and transnationalism
  • Sport for Development and Peace
  • Social theory
  • Physical Cultural Studies
  • Qualitative research methods (particularly ethnography)
  • Gender, feminist theory and sport
  • Young women, exercise and health
  • Sport and the body
  • Media (particularly new media)

My work has appeared in a number of scholarly peer-refereed journals including Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Sociology of Sport Journal, Sport and Society, International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology,Junctures: A Journal of Thematic Dialogue, and the Waikato Journal of Education. I am also co-editor (with Douglas Booth) of the Berkshire Encyclopedia of Extreme Sports, which was published in 2007. Together we contributed 15 entries to the encyclopedia. We also co-edited the Greenwood Extreme Sports series.

As a recipient of a Leverhulme Fellowship, I spent the majority of 2010 in the UK as a visiting scholar at the University of Brighton. Here I worked with colleagues at the Centre of Sport Research, and particularly with Dr Belinda Wheaton, an internationally-recognized expert on lifestyle and action sport cultures. In 2012 I was a Fulbright Scholar at Georgetown University (Washington, D.C). Here I taught a paper on sport and national identity, and conducted research on youth participation in action sports in the urban environment. I am a member of the Editorial Boards for the Sociology of Sport Journal and Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health. and a regular reviewer for various other journals. In an effort to share my work with a broader audience, I also write regular columns for Curl, an Australasian female lifestyle sport magazine.

In 2012, I co-founded Fuel Aotearoa, a website aimed at empowering athletic girls and women through education about their moving bodies. Working with Maria Bentley, we approached this project via a transdisciplinary approach, working with athletes, exercises, psychologists, endocrinologists, physiologists, physiotherapists, sports doctors, coaches, and parents, to make key information accessible and engaging to the everyday female exerciser and athlete. To further achieve our goal of educating girls and women about the social, psychological and physiological issues relating to exercise, diet, and body image, and to encourage more longer term thinking about health, we regularly provide seminars to various groups.

I hope this website provides an accessible introduction and overview of my work to date. I welcome any comments and feedback, and will endeavor to respond promptly to all legitimate enquiries.

For the latest updates on my research-related travels, publications and presentations, please go to the ‘News’ section of this website.