Dr Jonathan Grix

Dr Jonathan Grix

School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
Reader in Sport Policy and Politics

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 2990
+44 (0)121 414 3496
School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Jonathan is one of very few political scientists who have turned their attention to sport.


Near-native competence in both written and spoken German language

PhD in German Politics, University of Birmingham, 1998

MA (Distinction) in Contemporary European Studies, Sussex University, 1996

BA with Honours (First Class) in German Studies, Goldsmiths College, London, 1995


Jonathan is one of very few political scientists who have turned their attention to sport. His recent work has highlighted the political nature of sport and how the study of sport – while worthwhile in its own right – can also be used to understand wider machinations in the political system, ranging from governance of the public sector, through the use of sport in international relations and national identity formation. Jonathan’s key area of focus is on government involvement in sport and the use of sport by governments.


I convene a 3rd year option ‘Politics and Sport’ which looks at all aspects of sports politics, from sports mega-events to sport policy. I lead and teach on the new MSc in Sport Policy, Business and Management which offers full-time Masters from Sept. 2014 in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences. I have also written widely on research skills and research methodology.

Postgraduate supervision

I am available to supervise on any aspect of Sport, Politics and Policy. I have considerable experience of supervising PhDs and have also published extensively on research methods. I am particularly interested in the following:

1. Any aspect of sport politics

2. Sport Policy - elite and grass-roots

3. Mega-sporting events (soft power and international prestige)

4. Sport systems, including elite sport development

5. East German sport

6. Doping in sport

7. Sport and sport participation



Research interests

  • Sport politics; the politics of sport
  • Sport policy
  • Governance of sport
  • Elite sport development
  • East German sports system


Recent Research Funding

  • ($67,500), World Anti-Doping Agency. The effects of permitted forms of performance enhancement on determinants of doping in UK student-athletes (PI: I. D. Boardley; Co-Is: J. Grix, Professor Andrea Petróczi, Dr Neil Chester, Dr John Mills). Commences October 2016.
  • ($173,699), International Olympic Committee. Sport Coaches' Doping Confrontation Efficacy and Athletes' Susceptibility to Intentional and Inadvertent Doping. (PI: I. D. Boardley; Co-Is: J. Grix, N. Ntoumanis, A. Smith). Completes December 2017.
  • £83, 977 from the Leverhulme Trust (PI) for an international project on 'Leveraging Legacies from Sports Mega-Events', July, 2014.
  • $34, 000 from World Anti Doping Agency (Co-PI) on doping in sport, May, 2014 (with Ian Boardley, PI).
  • £26, 000 from FAPESP (Sao Paulo State Funding Agency, Brazil) for project on 'Brazil as a rising power' (with Marco Vieira, Politics), Jan. 2013.
  • £34, 000 from British Council for a series of workshops on sports mega-events in Brazil, November, 2012.
  • £11, 000 from UK Sport to undertake an analysis of NGB Boards Structures, May, 2012.
  • £10, 000 from Triathlon England for a study on the enablers and barriers to ‘participation and growth in Triathlon in England’, April, 2012.
  • £1350 from the School of Government and Society Research and Knowledge Transfer Fund for developing ‘sport policy exchange’ and fostering links with German Universities, June 2011.
  • 3500 Euros from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for a project on ‘The use of sport as a diplomatic tool: a case study of the football World Cup in Germany, 2006’; June 2011.
  • £1650 from Triathlon England for an evaluation study into the effectiveness of their ‘Kids of Steel’ initiative to increase participation and awareness of Triathlon; May 2011.
  • £3045 from School of Government and Society (£200) and ASCC fund for a conference on ‘Charisma – After Weber’, June 2011; awarded March 2011.
  •  £1350 from Political Studies Association Grant from the Specialist Activities Fund for a workshop on: ‘Sport and the Big Society: Active citizens and post-welfare governmentalities’ in Sept. 2011; awarded March 2011.
  • £6110 from British Academy for a project on ‘Lesson Drawing from the East German Sports Model’, December 2008.

Other activities

Administrative and managerial responsibilities

- I am the Research and Teaching Group Lead for the Sport Pedagogy and Sport Policy group in Sportex (currently 14 members of staff)

- Director of the Centre for Policy Research in Sport

- Director of International Activities for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences

- Co-chair of the Sports Strategy Group (with University Birmingham Sport)

- I sit on the College Research Committee

- Exec member of Sportex

- Member of the UoB Brazil working group

- Member of the UoB Germany working group

- Member of the PGT committee in Sportex

- Member of the PGA steering group

- Dr Jonathan Grix is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics (www.informaworld.com/ijsp). 


Other External Appointments

  • Member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Sport Policy, 2010;
  • Chair of the Political Studies Association's sub-group 'Politics and Sport';
  • Member of Editorial Board of German Politics (2000-2006);
  • Reviews Editor of German Politics (2000 to 2006).



Grix, J. (2016) Sport Politics: An Introduction, (Basingstoke, Palgrave).

Grix, J. and Dennis, M. (2012) Sport Under Communism: The East German Experience, Global Culture and Sport Series, (Basingstoke, Palgrave).

Grix, J. and Watkins, G. (2010) Information Skills. Finding and Using the Right Resources, (Basingstoke, Palgrave).

Grix, J. (2010) The Foundations of Research, 2nd Edition, (Basingstoke, Palgrave).

Grix, J. (2004) The Foundations of Research, (Basingstoke, Palgrave).

Grix, J. (2001) Demystifying Postgraduate Research. From MA to PhD, (University of Birmingham Press, Birmingham).

Grixj, J. (2000) The Role of the Masses in the Collapse of East Germany, (Basingstoke, Macmillan).


Edited Books (recent)

(2016) (ed.) Leveraging Mega-Event Legacies, London: Routledge.

(2016) (co-ed.) Challenges to Emerging and Established Powers, London: Routledge.

(2016) (ed.) Sport Politics. Sage Major Works. 4 Volumes. London: Sage.

Grix, J. (ed.) (2014) Leveraging Legacies from Sports Mega-Events. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Grix, J. and Phillpots, L. (eds.) (2014) Understanding UK Sport Policy in Context. London: Routledge.

Special issues of refereed journals

(2017) Special Issue of International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, ‘State Strategies for Leveraging Sports Mega-Events’, forthcoming.

(2015) Special Issue of Leisure Studies, Ed. ‘Leveraging Legacies from Mega-Events’, 34, 6, pp. 627-766 (impact factor: 1.121).

(2015) Special Issue of Global Society, (co-ed.) ‘Challenges to Emerging and Established Powers’, 29, 3, pp. 281-479.

Peer-reviewed articles:

Grix, J. and Brannagan, P. (2016) ‘Of Mechanisms and Myths: Conceptualizing States’ ‘Soft Power’ Strategies through Sports Mega-Events’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, 27:2, 251-272, DOI: 10.1080/09592296.2016.1169791.

Nichols, G., Grix, J. and Griffiths, M. (2016) ‘How Sport Governance Impacted on Olympic Legacy: A Study of Unintended Consequences and the “Sport Makers” Volunteering Programme’, Managing Sport and Leisure, DOI: 10.1080/23750472.2016.1181984.

Postlethwaite, V. and Grix, J. (2016) ‘Beyond the Acronyms: Sport Diplomacy and the Classification of the International Olympic Committee’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, 27:2, 295-313, DOI: 10.1080/09592296.2016.1169796.

Grix, J., and Kramareva, N. (2015). The Sochi Winter Olympics and Russia’s unique soft power strategy. Sport in Society, 1-15. DOI:10.1080/17430437.2015.1100890.

Milton, K. and Grix, J. (2015) Public health policy and walking in England—analysis of the 2008 ‘policy window’, BMC Public Health, 15: 614. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/15/614

Grix, J., Brannagan, P. and Houlihan, B. (2015) Interrogating States’ Soft Power Strategies: A Case Study of Sports Mega-Events in Brazil and the UK, Global Society, 29, 3, pp. 463-479.

Toledo, R. M. Grix, J. and M. T. S. Bega (2015) ‘Megaeventos Esportivos e seus Legados: uma análise dos efeitos institucionais da dupla condição do Brasil de país-sede’, Revista de Sociologia e Política, 23, 56, pp. 21-44.

Boardley, I., Grix, J. & Harkin, J. (2014) Doping in team and individual sports: a qualitative investigation of moral disengagement and associated processes. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health. 7, 5, p. 698–717.

Refereed Articles

Boardley, I. D., Grix, J., & Dewar, A. (2014). Moral Disengagement and Associated Processes in Performance Enhancing Drug Use: A National Qualitative Investigation. Journal of Sport Sciences, in press.

Phillpots, L. and Grix, J.  (2014) New governance and Physical Education and School Sport Policy: A Case Study of School to Club Links, Journal of Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 19:1, 76-96.

Grix, J. (2013) (with Donna Lee) ‘Soft Power, Sports Mega-Events and Emerging States: The Lure of the Politics of Attraction’, Global Society, forthcoming.

Grix, J. and Houlihan, B. (2013) 'Sports Mega-Events as Part of a Nation’s Soft Power Strategy: The Cases of Germany (2006) and the UK (2012)', British Journal of Politics and International Relations, in press.

Grix, J. (2013) Commentary on ‘Culture Change in a Professional Sports Team: Shaping Environmental Contexts and Regulating Power’, International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 8, 2, pp. 297-299, in press.

Grix, J. (2013) 'The politics of the Olympics', Political Studies Review, in press.

Grix, J. (2013) '‘Image’ Leveraging and Sports Mega-Events:  Germany and the 2006 FIFA World Cup', Journal of Sport and Tourism, in press.

Boardley, I. and Grix, J. (2013) 'Doping in Bodybuilders: A Qualitative Investigation of Facilitative Psychosocial Processes', Journal of Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, in press.

Dinold, M., Dikemüller, Grix, J. and Phillpots, L. (2013) ‘European Policy and the management of diversity: towards a typology for sport pedagogy’, European Journal of Sport Science, in press.

Grix, J. (2012) 'London 2012 and its legacies’, Editorial in Special Issue of International Journal of Sport Policy and PoliticsGrix, J. and  Lesley Phillpots, eds. ‘An Assessment of UK Sport Policy in comparative context’, in press.

Grix, J. and Carmichael, F. (2012) ‘The Olympic Legacy and Participation in Sport: An Interim Assessment of Sport England’s Active People Survey for Sports Studies Research’, International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, iFirst article, pp.1-16, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19406940.2012.656675.

Grix, J. and Carmichael, F. (2012) 'Why do governments invest in elite sport? A polemic', International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 4, 1, pp. 73-90; http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19406940.2011.627358.

Grix, J. (2012) 'The Politics of Sports Mega-events', Political Insight, 3, 1, pp. 4-7, April, 2012.

Grix, J. and Phillpots, L. (2011) ‘Unpacking the Paradox: Centralised Grass-Roots Policy and the “new Governance”: a Case Study of County Sport Partnerships’, International Review of Sport Sociology, (pre-published online, September 2010).

Grix, J. and Goodwin, M. (2011) ‘Bringing Structures back in: The “Governance Narrative”, the “Decentred Approach” and “Asymmetrical Network Governance” in the Education and Sport Policy Communities’, Public Administration, 89, 2, 537–556.

Grix, J. Phillpots, L. (2011) ‘Revisiting the “Governance Narrative”: “Asymmetrical Network Governance” and the Deviant Case of the Sport Policy Sector’, Public Policy and Administration, 26, 1, 3-19.

Grix, J. and Parker, A. (2011) ‘Towards an Explanation for the Decline in UK Athletics: a Case Study of Male Distance Running’, Sport in Society, 14, 5, 612–628.

Grix, J. (2010) ‘Introducing “Hard Interpretivism” and “Q” Methodology’, Leisure Studies, 29, 4, 457-467.

Grix, J. (2010) ‘The Governance Debate and the Study of Sport Policy’, International Journal of Sport Policy, 2, 2, July 2010, 159-171.

Grix, J. (2010) ‘From “Hobbyhorse” to Mainstream: Using Sport to Understand British Politics’, British Politics, 5, 1, February 2010. , 114-129.

Grix, J. and Dennis, M. (2010) ‘Behind the Iron Curtain: Football as a Site of Contestation in the East German Sports “Miracle”’, Sport in History, 30, 3, 447-474.

Grix, J. (2009)  ‘The impact of UK Sport Policy on the Governance of Athletics’, in International Journal of Sport Policy, March, 2009, 1, 1, 31-49.

Grix, J. (2008) ‘The Decline of Mass Sport Provision in the German Democratic Republic’, in International Journal of the History of Sport, 25, 4, 406-420



Grix, J. (2014) 'Germany and Sport Politics' in The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary German Politics, Edited by Sarah Colvin, London: Routledge.

Grix, J. (2014) 'Political Science and Sport' in Handbook of Social Sciences in Sport and Physical Activity, Edited by Joseph Maguire, Human Kinetics. 


Sport policy