English (Men’s) Football, Masculinity and Homophobia: From Hegemonic to Inclusive Masculinity

Jay Willson, Rory Magrath

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


English men’s football has traditionally been a hostile environment for sexual minorities. Gay male footballers – or even those suspected of being gay – have been excluded, marginalised and subordinated from the game by men attempting to (re)prove and (re)establish their heteromasculine identities. Over the past two decades, however, attitudes towards homosexuality have seen a remarkable improvement across much of the Western world. Despite claims that sport – and football, in particular – is slower to adopt broader social change, and that homophobia remains an endemic social problem affecting the game, a significant body of research has documented how football is becoming increasingly acceptant and inclusive of homosexuality. In this chapter, we explore how this scholarly work has departed from previous, outdated attempts at theorising masculinities – notably Connell’s notion of hegemonic masculinity; and has, instead, employed Eric Anderson’s theoretical lens, inclusive masculinity. We discuss how inclusive masculinity has evolved into the most dominant paradigm for theorising contemporary masculinities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Issues in Football: A Sociological Analysis of the Beautiful Game
EditorsWill Roberts, Stuart Whigham, Alex Culvin, Daniel Parnell
ISBN (Print)9781032183091
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2023

Publication series

NameCritical Research in Football

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