Professor Bairner studied Politics at the University of Edinburgh, gained a PGCE in History and Modern Studies at Moray House College of Education, and was awarded a PhD by the University of Hull. Prior to his arrival in Loughborough in 2013, he was Professor of Sport Studies at the University of Ulster where he had worked for twenty five years.

He is the author of Sport, Nationalism and Globalization: European and North American Perspectives (2001) and co-author of Sport, Sectarianism and Society in a Divided Ireland (1993). He edited Sport and the Irish: Histories, Identities, Issues (2005) and is joint editor of Sport in Divided Societies (1999), The Bountiful Game? Football Identities and Finances (2005), The Politics of the Olympics: A Survey (2010), the Routledge Handbook of Sport and Politics (2017) and Sport and Body Cultures in East and Southeast Asia (2018).

He is module leader for PSB015 Sport, Ideologies and Values and for PSC023 Sport, Celebrity and Place.

He is also Past President of the Loughborough University branch of the University and College Union.

Bairner’s main research interest is the relationship between sport and politics with a particular focus on national identities and nationalism. This has resulted in published work on Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and, more recently, Taiwan and Cuba. Current research activity also embraces sport, leisure and urban space, and representations of sport in the modern novel.

Professor Bairner has been a Visiting Scholar at Marii Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, Poland (2006), Visiting Fellow at Hitotsubashi University, Japan (2008), Visiting Professor at the National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan (2012), Visiting Senior Researcher at Waseda University, Japan (2013), Visiting Professor at Capital University of Physical Education and Sport, Beijing, PRC (2014), and Visiting Professor at Hiroshima University of Economics, Japan (2017).

Bairner was the founding editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science and is currently a member of the editorial boards of the International Review for the Sociology of SportSoccer and SocietyLeisure Studies and the International Journal of Sport for Development.

He is regularly interviewed about the relationship between sport and politics by representatives of the media. Recent examples include The Cambodia Daily (2017), Le Soleil (Canada) (2017), Irish Examiner (2017), Le Monde (France) (2017), Chugoku Shimbun (Hiroshima, Japan) (2017), Irish Independent (2017), The Guardian (2017), and Politiken (Copenhagen, Denmark) (2017).

Selected keynote lectures and invited presentations

Recent keynote lectures and invited presentations include

  • Bairner, A. ‘Sports mega-events – what are they good for?’, International Joint Conference on Physical Activity, Exercise Science and Sport Sociology, Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan, May, 2015.
  • Bairner, A. ‘Sport for All: a utopian dream?’ Sport for All Annual Conference, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan, October 2016
  • Bairner, A., ‘Sport, Ulster Unionism and Irishness’, Gaelic Athletic Association Museum Summer School, Croke Park, Dublin, June 2017
  • Bairner, A., ‘Play versus sport? The evolution of leisure sport in Europe’, First Donghua International Forum of the World Leisure Sports Association Conference, Wuhan, People’s Republic of China, September, 2017

Featured publications

  • Bairner, A. (2015) Assessing the Sociology of Sport: On national identity and nationalism’, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 50 (4-5), 375-379, ISSN 1012-6902.
  • Piggin, J. and Bairner, A. (2016) What do we know about physical activity? An analysis of knowledge production in public health, Sport, Education and Society, 21 (2), 131-147, ISSN 1357-3322
  • Bairner, A., (2016) ‘My first victim was a hurling player…’: sport in the lives of Northern Ireland’s political prisoners,  American Behavioral Scientist, 60 (9), 1086-1100, ISSN 0002 7642
  • Tan, T. C, Huang, H.C., Bairner, A. & Chen, Y.W.  (2017) Xi Jin-Ping's World Cup Dreams: from a Major Sports Country to a World Sports Power. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 33 (12), 2017, 1449-1465 ISSN 0952-3367
  • Bairner, A. (2017) Sport, fiction and sociology: novels as data sources, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 52 (5), 521-535 ISSN 1012-6902.
  • Bairner, A. (2017) Baseball and Cuban National Identity in Leonardo Padura’s Havana Quartet’, Studia Iberica et Americana. Journal of Iberian and Latin American Literary and Cultural Studies, 4, 2017, 217-237 ISSN 2327-4751