Maddie Breeze’s roller derby book wins top sociology prize

Maddie Breeze's book focuses on women's roller derby. File picture: Terrence McNally (CC BY 2.0)
Maddie Breeze's book focuses on women's roller derby. File picture: Terrence McNally (CC BY 2.0)
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A PUBLIC sociology lecturer from Queen Margaret University (QMU) has been crowned one of the UK’s top sociology authors of 2016 by the British Sociological Association (BSA).

Dr Maddie Breeze’s book, Seriousness in Women’s Roller Derby: Gender, Organisation, and Ambivalence, won the Phillip Abrams Memorial Prize, which is awarded annually for the best first sole-authored monograph in sociology at the BSA’s annual conference.

Award-winning author Maddie Breeze. Picture: Craig Bennett

Award-winning author Maddie Breeze. Picture: Craig Bennett

Maddie’s book is based on ethnographic research with a women’s roller derby league in Edinburgh, and explores questions of gender and sporting legitimacy, developing a sociological account of what is at stake in “getting taken seriously”, as skaters work together to achieve recognition for their sport, and retain its unique grassroots and “do-it-yourself” character.

Commenting on her award from the BSA, Maddie said: “I’m really delighted with the prize, and especially to be in such prestigious company along with the other nominees.

“I hope that the book sparks debate on broader questions about how we participate in the organisations and institutions that frame our daily lives, and that readers are inspired to discover more about both roller derby and public sociology.”

The judges said: “This is an outstanding work which demonstrates fully how the women skaters responded to the challenge of trying to achieve legitimacy for this aggressive, tactical, competitive and complicated sport.”

I hope that the book sparks debate on broader questions about how we participate in the organisations and institutions that frame our daily lives, and that readers are inspired to discover more about both roller derby and public sociology.

Maddie Breeze

Since winning the prestigious title, Maddie has been invited to speak at a BSA event about using research in sociology teaching in July.

She has also been invited to speak about her new book at the Portobello Book Fair in October.

The prize, of £1000, is given annually to the best first sole-authored sociology book. It was set up in memory of Professor Abrams, who died in 1981 aged 48, and whose work contributed substantially to sociology and social policy research. QMU is the first university in Scotland to offer an undergraduate degree in Public Sociology.

• For more information on Maddie’s new book and to purchase a copy online, visit: www.palgrave.com/gb/book/9781137504838