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Sociology: People


Chloe MacLean

Chloe MacLean
Chloe MacLean
Edinburgh UK
Research Interests
Gender equality, Sociology of Sport, Senses, Martial arts/ Combat Sports, Sensory Ethnography, Qualitative Research Methods, embodiment, gender, relationships

An Introduction to my Research

Karate is a complexly gendered sporting context. As a combative sport, karate is an arena many would imagine to be a male domain, and a place to reproduce notions of hegemonic masculinity through combative dominance. However, far from being a male domain, karate in Scotland is a sport that involves many women who train together with men in the same classes, and under-going the same practices. It is a sport oozing action, agility, sweaty body-to-body contact, speed, pain, elegance, domination, companionship, tacit tactics, bruises, and sporting respect. In this arena women can, and often are, recognised as more skilled technicians than men. My research aims to explore how ideas of gender are negotiated, subverted, and embodied in the inter-bodily experience of mixed-sex karate training, and what lessons this can bring for developing gender equality in sport and society more broadly. 


2013 Msc by Research in Sociology (Distinction)

2012 MA Sociology Honours (First)


2017 European Association for the Sociology of Sport 'Young Researcher Award' 

2014-2015 Teaching Awards Nominee

2013-2016 ESRC PhD Funding

2012-2013 Special Athletic Scholarship by the School of Social and Political Science


2014: Sociology 1a; Sociology 2a

2013: Sociology 1a


2016. Friendships worth fighting for: bonds between women and men karate practitioners as sites for deconstructing gender inequality. Sport in Society. 

2015. Understanding Disabled People's Housing Pathways: Initial Insights. Scottish Government Publication available at:

2015. Beautifully Violent: The Gender Dynamic of Scottish Karate. In Channon, A. and Matthews, C. (eds). Global Perspectives on Women in Combat Sports: Women Warriors around the World. London: Routledge.

Conference Presentations 

2015. 'Friendships worth fighting for: Mixed-sex friendships in karate as sites for deconstructing gender inequality'. Oral Presentation at the British Sociology Association Annual Conference. Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland.

2014. 'To hit or not to hit? Practitioner-researcher perspectives on mixed-sex martial arts'. Joint Oral Presenation with Dr Alex Channon (University of Greenwich) at Sporting Females: Past, Present, and Future. Leeds Met. University, England.

2014. ‘Fighting with the senses: Using a sensory ethnography to explore the gender dynamic of karate’. Oral Presentation at The 5th Ethnography and Qualitative Research Conference. Bergamo, Italy. 

2014. 'Finding Fun in Fighting: Tensions in elite karate athletes' emotional experiences'. Poster Presentation at European Association for the Sociology of Sport Annual Conference. Utrecht, Netherlands.

2013. 'Beautifully Violent: Women's experiences of mixed-sex karate training'. Oral Presentation at the Transnational Working Group for the Study of Gender and Sport 7th Meeting, Gender in Physical Culture Conference. Gothenburg, Sweden.

2013. 'Beautifully Violent: The Gender Dynamic of Karate'. Oral Presentation at European Sociological Association Annual Conference: Crisis, Critique & Change. Turin, Italy.

2013. ‘Fighting with the senses: Using a sensory ethnography to explore the gender dynamic of karate’. Oral Presentation at New Directions Conference. Edinburgh, Scotland.

Other Roles

2014 - Present: Scottish Karate Governing Body's director women and girl's interests. 

2015. Scottish Women In Sport Role Model of the Year  nominee.

2015. Invited as a 'Young Leader' to the World Sports Values Summit for Peace and Development, Cape Town, South Africa. Panelist on the 'Sports stars as role models' session.