Learning to be a professional football manager: a Bourdieusian perspective

Stephen Morrow*, Brian Howieson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This paper draws on the theoretical concepts of Pierre Bourdieu to provide an insight into aspirant football managers’ perceptions of what is required and valued at different stages of their desired managerial career journey. Drawing on interviews with candidates from one cohort of the Scottish Football Association Professional Licence (n = 19), our evidence suggests that aspirant managers have responded to changes in field logic by adopting strategies which place increased emphasis on cultural capital in the form of engagement with educational discourse. While we find evidence of instrumentality in attitudes to education, we also find evidence which emphasises the importance of habitus as an unconscious process. Educational culture is absorbed and embodied by some aspirant managers, which enlightens their actions and encourages them to adopt empowering strategies through which they seek to transform their place in the field. The paper concludes by considering potential implications for governing bodies and clubs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-105
Number of pages14
JournalManaging Sport and Leisure
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2018


  • education
  • football managers
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • Professional football

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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