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Michael Atkinson, PhD

Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education

University of Toronto
55 Harbord Street
Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2W6
Phone: 416-978-7205


To view Michael's profile within the University of Toronto's Department of Kinesiology, please click this link.


Michael Atkinson is a Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto. He earned a PhD in Sociology from the University of Calgary in 2001, and has taught at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, McMaster University, University of Western Ontario and Loughborough University (UK).

Michael has been an active member of the international sociology community since the mid-1990s, publishing in a range of journals and annually presenting original research at a spectrum of conferences, colloquia, roundtables, and policy sessions. His central areas of teaching and research interests pertain to the experiences of human suffering in/as physical cultures, the cross-national study of bio-pedagogical practices, radical embodiment, issues in bioethics within global and local physical cultures, the emerging cultural neuroscience paradigm, and ethnographic research methods. Michael’s ethnographic research efforts have included the study of ticket scalpers, tattoo enthusiasts, fell runners, cosmetic surgery patients, greyhound and fox hunting cultures, Ashtanga yoga practitioners, Straightedge and Parkour youth cultures, and triathletes. He is author/editor of eight books, and his research has appeared in diverse academic journals including International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Body & Society, Sex Roles, Sport in Society, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Qualitative Research on Sport, Exercise and Health, Field Methods, Youth & Society, Deviant Behavior, Third World Quarterly, The Sociology of Sport Journal, The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology, and Health. As a result of his publishing efforts, he has been invited to deliver keynote lectures in countries including China, Sweden, Australia, Brazil, England, the United States, and Canada. In October of 2004, he was honoured to receive the Aurora Prize from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, as the outstanding young scholar in all of the Canadian social sciences.

Michael is an active member of the University of Toronto’s Center for Sport Policy Studies, is an affiliated research Fellow at the Center for Physical Cultural Studies at Florida State University. Michael alos directs a multi-university and multi-agency collaborative research project spearheaded at the University of Toronto called The Sport Legacies Research Collaborative (SLRC). The SLRC is geared toward researching the cultural, physical and socio-economic impacts of sports mega-events on their host communities. Additionally, he has been an active member of the Social Sciences and Humanities and Research Council of Canada’s peer review committee (Sociology and Demography) since 2005 (acting Chair as of 2011), and more recently for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (Humanities, Law and Ethics committee member). Michael is Editor of the Sociology of Sport Journal and has served on editorial boards including Deviant Behavior, Sport in Society, Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, and Qualitative Sociology Review.

Research Interests

Michael's research interests include: suffering; physical cultural studies; bioethics; biopedagogies; youth masculinities, health and sexualities; animals and society; and qualitative research methodologies.

CQ Teaching

Michael teaches physical cultural studies, policy, bioethics, and research methods at the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Toronto. CQ offers his course, Qualitative Inquiry and Physical Cultural Studies (EXS4410) as an introductory level graduate class.

Sample Publications

Young, K. and Atkinson, M. (Eds.). 2012. Qualitative Research on Sport and Physical Cultures. London: Elsevier.

Atkinson, M. 2011. Key Concepts: Research Methods in Sport, Exercise and Health Science. London: Sage.

Atkinson, M. 2010. Deconstructing Men and Masculinities. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Kehler, M. & Atkinson, M. (Eds.). 2010. Boys’ Bodies: Speaking the Unspoken. New York: Peter Lang.

Atkinson, M. 2003. Tattooed: The Sociogenesis of a Body Art. Toronto: The University of Toronto Press.

Atkinson, M., and Young, K. 2012. “Shadowed by the Corpse of War: Sport Spectacles and the Spirit of Terrorism.” International Review for the Sociology of Sport 47(3): 286-306.

Atkinson, M. and Kehler, M. 2012. “Boys, Bullying and Biopedagogies in Physical Education”. THYMOS. 6(2): 166-187.

Atkinson, M. 2011. “Fell Running and Voluptuous Panic”. American Journal of Play 4(1): 111-132.

Atkinson, M. 2011. “Male Athletes and the Culture of Thinness in Sport.” Deviant Behavior. 32(3): 224-256.

Atkinson, M. 2011. “Physical Cultural Studies [Redux].” Sociology of Sport Journal 28(1): 135-144.

Atkinson, M. 2010. Atkinson, M. “Entering Scapeland: Yoga, Fell and Post-Sport Physical Cultures”. Sport in Society 13(7): 1249-1267.

Atkinson, M. 2009. “Measured Men: Cosmetic Simulacra in Late Modern Canada”. Magma (online).

Atkinson, M. 2009. “Parkour, Anarcho-Environmentalism and Poiesis”. Journal of Sport and Social Issues 33 (2): 169-194.

Atkinson, M. 2008. “Triathlon, Suffering and Exciting Significance”.  Leisure Studies 27(2): 165-180. 

Atkinson, M. 2008. “Exploring Male Femininity in the Crisis: Men and Cosmetic Surgery”. Body & Society. 14(1): 67-87.

Atkinson, M. 2007. “Playing with Fire: Masculinity and Exercise Supplements”. Sociology of Sport Journal 24(2): 165-186.

Atkinson, M. 2006. “Straightedge Bodies, Civilizing Processes.” Body & Society 12(1): 69-95.