by Hans Erik Næss

Vol. 8 2017, pages 49-66
Published June 12, 2017


The sensory character of fieldwork has been increasingly used as part of ethnographic investigations. Sport, however, seems to be lagging behind when it comes to exploiting this element. For that reason, this article seeks to illustrate the potential of making sensory diversity a premise, rather than an afterthought, for ethnographies of sport. Based upon trans-local fieldwork at six FIA World Rally Championship events, as well as other examples from sensory studies of sport, it is argued that by exploring the sense-based experience of fans and how it shapes their view on sport, we get a broader picture of their affiliation with it. By discussing the uses of the senses as ethnographic ‘instrument’, the role of the researcher and issues related to qualitative analysis, this article offers practical advice on how to use this approach in the field.

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About the Author

HANS ERIK NÆSS (PhD, University of Oslo) is currently affiliated with the Faculty of Management at Westerdals Oslo School of Arts, Communication and Technology. His research interests include motorsports, qualitative methods, and cultural sociology. He has published a monograph, A Sociology of the FIA World Rally Championship: History, Identity, Memories and Place (Palgrave Macmillan 2014), and articles in journals such as Sport in Society and Sport Management Review.