Dr Paul Ian Campbell

Lecturer in Sociology

Paul Campbell headshot

School/Department: Sociology



Dr Campbell is Associate Professor in the Sociology of race and inclusion and is the inaugural Director of the University of Leicester Institute for Inclusivity in Higher Education. 

He is an interdisciplinary scholar of race and inclusion primarily in two areas: in Higher Education spaces, and in Sport. 

His work sits at the intersection of sociology, history, education and sport and is driven by my commitment to equality, diversity and social justice. His research and related teaching, engagement and impact activities tackle and lead scholarly conversations and HE practice in relation to current and urgent issues in HE or sport. These include issues such as, designing interventions for how to make curricula and assessment more inclusive for all students and identifying new ways in which racial exclusions manifest in sport. 

Paul’s recent monograph, "Education, Retirement and Career Transitions for 'Black' Ex-Professional Footballers" draws on a combination of interviews and auto-ethnographic data, the author provides a case-study of 16 ‘black’ British male professional footballers' preparedness and experiences of retirement and transition from careers as professional athletes to mainstream work. The book offers a new perspective as few studies in sport have attempted to explicitly explore the intersections of race, class and masculinity in relation to career transitions.

His recent HE and inclusion-based reports include the “Tackling Racial Inequalities in Assessment in Higher Education: A Multi-Disciplinary Case Study” (2021) and “The Evaluation of the University of Leicester’s Decolonizing the Curricula Toolkit” (2022) (funded by the Transforming Access and Student Outcomes). The former is the first large scale qualitative study to examine and sketch-out the ways in which students of colour experience exclusion in HE assessment and related practices. The latter is the UK’s first large scale, mixed methods evaluation of the efficacy of a racial inclusion in curricula intervention on improving the experiences of students of colour in HE.


I am an active and award-winning researcher. My research interests are centred on the lived experiences and exclusions of people of colour in higher education and in local and professional sport. I am also interested in developing interventions for best inclusion practice and in holistic ways of measuring the impact and efficacy of race inclusion work. 

My current projects include: 

  • An examination of the social and historical experiences of Black women footballers in local football networks (funded by the British Society of Sports Historians)
  • Developing and evaluating interventions for best inclusion practice in HE assessment (funded by the QAA)
  • An examination of the reproduction of racial stereotypes in sports videogames  


  • Campbell, P. I (2022) ‘Pray(ing) the Person Marking Your Work Isn't Racist’: Racialised Inequities in HE Assessment Practice Teaching in Higher Education DOI: 10.1080/14660970.2022.2109805
  • Campbell, P.I. and Maloney, M. (in publication June 2022) ‘White Digital Footballers Can’t Jump’: (Re)constructions of race in FIFA 20’ Soccer and Society
  • Campbell, P. I, Hawkins, and Osman, S. (May 2021) Tackling Racial Inequalities in Assessment in Higher Education: A Multi-Disciplinary Case Study University of Leicester: Funded by the Strategic Priorities Fund QR Allocation for Evidence-Based Policy Research
  • Evans, B A, Agergaard, S. Campbell, P. I., Hylton, K. and Lenneis, V. (2020) ‘Black Lives Matter: Sport, Race and Ethnicity in Challenging Times’ European Journal for Sport and Society DOI: 10.1080/16138171.2020.1833499
  • Campbell P I (2021) ‘Now you see ‘race’, now you don’t: The hyper-visibility and hyper-invisibility of race and Covid-19 in political and public health discourse’ in (eds) Clarke, T. Populism, Pandemic and the Media: Journalism in the Age of Covid, Trump, Brexit and Johnson Suffolk: Abbramis
  • Campbell, P.I. (2020) Education training, retirement and career transition for ex-professional footballers: ‘From being idolised to stacking shelves’ Bingley: Emerald
  • Campbell, P.I. and Bebb, L. (2020) ‘He Is Like a Gazelle (When He Runs): (Re)constructing Race and Nation in Match-day Commentary at the Men’s 2018 FIFA World Cup’ Sport in Society DOI: 10.1080/17430437.2020.1777102
  • Campbell, P.I. (2019) “That black boy's a different class’: Race, class and local football in Leicester c. 1980 – 2010’ Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power DOI: 10.1080/1070289X.2019.1590028
  • Campbell, P.I. (2016) Football, Ethnicity and Community: The life of an African-Caribbean football club Oxford: Peter Lang
  • Campbell, P. I. (2015) ‘A (‘black’) historian using sociology to write a history of ‘black’ sport: A critical reflection’ Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health Vol. 7 No. 3, 377-394 (Cite Score 1.66)
  • Campbell, P.I. and Williams, J.  (2014) ‘‘Race’, Politics & Local Football: Continuity and change in the life of a British African-Caribbean local football club’ Sport in Society DOI: 10.1080/17430437.2015.928478
  • Campbell, P.I. and Williams, J.  (2013) Can “the ghetto” take over the county?: ‘Race’, generation & social change in local football in the UK International Review for the Sociology of Sport DOI: 1012690213514740 (Impact Factor 1.914)
  • Campbell, P.I. (2013) “Cavaliers made us ‘United’: Local football and the identity politics of second-generation African-Caribbean youth in the East Midlands c.1970-1979” Sport in History Vol. 33, No. 2, 169-194
  • Campbell, P.I. (2011) “What Is Rangers Resisting Now? ‘Race’, ‘resistance’ and shifting notions of blackness in local football in Leicester” in Burdsey, D. Race, Ethnicity and Football; Persisting Debates and Emergent Issues Abingdon: Routledge 


I am interested in supervising research in the following areas: 

  • Race and inclusion
  • Race and education
  • Race and class
  • Race and football or sport
  • Minority ethnic community formation and change
  • Local and professional football
  • Youth, masculinity, class and identity formation
  • Leisure and sport



  • SY1025 Race, Ethnicity and Racisms in Britain (module convenor)
  • SY1002 Society in Transformation (contributor)
  • SY1008 Interpreting Key Texts 2020-21 SEM2 (contributor)
  • SY1018 Thinking Sociologically About Crime (contributor)


  • SY7036 (module convener: 2018-19)
  • SY7045 (module convener: 2018-19)

Postgraduate research (PGR)

  • Supervision of PhD students

Press and media

Authored news articles 

  • Campbell, P. I. (February 11, 2022) ‘Kurt Zouma has the country facing an uncomfortable question: Do Britons think cats’ lives matter more than Black lives?’  The Big Issue
  • Campbell, P. I. (June 16, 2021) ‘Taking the knee in football: why this act of protest has always been political’ The Conversation
  • Campbell, P. I. (May 14, 2021) ‘Racism in football: new research shows media treats black men differently to white men’ The Conversation
  • Campbell, P. I. (June 30, 2020) ‘Frank Lampard’s talk about ‘hard work’ will not help football tackle black under-representation’ The Conversation
  • Campbell, P. I. (April 15, 2020) ‘Coronavirus is hitting BAME communities hard on every front’ The Conversation (9,303 reads)
  • Campbell, P. I and Beddow, H. (March 30, 2020) ‘Living off the Ball’ The Big Issue
  • Campbell, P. I. (January 17, 2020) ‘Stormzy and Gary Neville: how privilege works in 21st-century Britain’ The Conversation (This was The Conversation’s most read article after four days, being read by 23,066 people. The second highest had 3,398 hits)
  • Campbell, P. I. (January 19, 2018) ‘Football and race relations have progressed a lot since Regis’s day – but not enough’ The Conversation

News articles contributed to 

  • 'Lack of diverse curriculum 'hampers BAME students', university study finds’ (04.06.2021) BBC News
  • Hitchings-Hales, J (08.03.2021) ‘Why Aren’t Anti-Racism Efforts in Football Making Any difference?: Global Citizen spoke to an expert on race in football about eliminating racism from the game’ Global Citizen
  • Griggs, I (2020) ‘The Roots of Racism at Work – Is discrimination today a legacy of slavery?: PRWeek speaks to experts about the history of racism in the UK, to provide background and foster better understanding of the context before we consider how this prejudice manifests itself in the comms sector’ PRWeek



My monograph, 'Football, Ethnicity and Community: The life of an African-Caribbean Football Club' (Peter Lang) won the British Sociological Association’s Philip Abrams Prize 2017 and was shortlisted for the British Society of Sports History Lord Aberdare Literary Prize the same year.

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