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Dr R. Spaaij (1979) has been appointed professor by special appointment of Sports Sociology at the University of Amsterdam’s (UvA) Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. The chair was established on behalf of the W.J.H. Mulier Institute Foundation.

Prof Ramón Spaaij
Photo: Jeroen Oerlemans

Ramón Spaaij researches the effects of sport on society. As a researcher, he has garnered much expertise in the area of social cohesion, conflict and social change in relation to sport. In his teaching and research activities at the UvA, Spaaij will focus on the role of sport as a social adhesive and on the darker sides of sport, such as violence and social exclusion. He will examine the opportunities for personal development offered by sport (in terms of cultural capital, social capital and identity) and on how it has influenced social development in the neighbourhoods of large cities (quality of life, integration, social improvement). As professor by special appointment, Spaaij hopes to make an important contribution toward the field of sport sociology in the Netherlands.

Spaaij has been a senior research fellow in the Sociology and Anthropology department of La Trobe University in Australia since 2010. In addition, he is a visiting professor at the Utrecht University School of Governance (USG). Spaaij recently received a prestigious research subsidy from the Australian Research Council for his research into social and ethnic diversity in youth sports. Together with Prof. M. Hamm (Indiana State University), he heads the research project ‘Lone Wolf Terrorism in America: Using Knowledge of Radicalization Pathways to Forge Prevention Strategies’, which is funded by the US National Institute of Justice.

Aside from contributing articles in renowned academic journals, Spaaij has also published ten books, including Sport and Social Mobility: Crossing Boundaries (2011, Routledge), Understanding Lone Wolf Terrorism (2011, Springer), The Social Impact of Sport: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (2010, Routledge) and Hooligans, fans en fanatisme (Hooligans, fans and fanaticism. 2008, Amsterdam University Press). Spaaij is a member of the editorial and advisory boards of academic journals such as Sport in Society, Soccer & Society and Anduli, and is a member of the editorial board of the book series Modern Historical Studies in Politics and Violence (Bloomsbury). Spaaij is affiliated with the national knowledge and innovation network ‘Sport & Society’.