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Eric Dunning obituary

Eric Dunning, that has died aged 82, would have been a distinguished sociologist and founding father of the sociology of sport, who wrote about aggression and excitement in games, resulting in football hooliganism.

Seeking one place for postgraduate research for the University of Leicester while in the 1950s, Eric considered football, but discovered that it was regarded as an unsuitable field of study for sociologists. Eric with his fantastic colleague Norbert Elias set out to overturn that view.

Eric’s MA thesis traced improvement football at a rough and wild folk game, near fighting, on the modern sport, which consists of reduced socially permitted a higher level violence. Before, the orthodox sociological opinion of leisure was that this met the need for relaxation. Eric and Elias dissented. Their view was that folks residing in industrial societies were controlled by constant pressure towards a demanding volume of habitual power over spontaneous impulses, along with what was needed from leisure and cultural pursuits was excitement in the socially acceptable form.

Their pioneering essays were collected in 1986 inside book Quest for Excitement. In all of the, Eric authored or edited 14 books. Barbarians, Gentlemen and Players (1979), his study with Ken Sheard of your continuing development of rugby football, might be simply the very best sociological study in the progression of any sport. And between 1984 and 1990, Eric brilliant Leicester colleagues produced three highly influential books on football hooliganism. The job from the “Leicester school” could be the place to start for all those subsequent research work of this type.

Born in Hayes, Middlesex, to Daisy (nee Morton), a college dinner lady, and Sidney Dunning, a London bus driver, Eric went to Acton county grammar school as well as the fact that was then University College Leicester. His intention ended up being study economics, but he switched to sociology after attending and being entranced by Elias’s introductory lectures while in the subject.

After completing his postgraduate studies, Eric traveled to us states for your year, where he worked under Alvin Gouldner at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, and where he met and married his first wife, Ellen. He returned to Britain in 1962 to take up a scheduled visit as being an assistant lecturer at Leicester, but Ellen was not able to get ready britain, plus the marriage went separate ways.

Eric was appointed lecturer in 1963 and professor of sociology in 1998. He was my tutor and later my academic colleague at Leicester, so we completed many studies together. Eric continued to put in writing and publish after his retirement in 2001, as professor emeritus.

To his friends he’ll be remembered to be a bon vivant who loved wine and jazz, and a teller of jokes and shaggy dog stories, but, above all, as a possible extraordinarily kind and generous person.

Eric is survived by two children, Michael and Rachel, from his second marriage, to Judith, which ended in divorce, by his grandchildren, Florence and Isabelle, as well as a brother, Roy.

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