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Institute of Advanced Study

IAS Staff

Publication details for Dr Sam Hillyard

Hillyard, S. (2016). Bullshot: sporting shooting, alcohol and the two cultures. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 51(4): 394-409.

Author(s) from Durham


The paper discusses the role and function of alcohol in sporting shooting in the UK. It seeks to understand and critically comment upon alcohol consumption relating to this sport, to widen empirical knowledge of sporting shooting and to use the lens of alcohol to enhance our theoretical
understanding of changes taking place in the global countryside. The paper contextualises the activity of sporting shooting by discussing the characteristics of game shooting participants and also the nature of sporting shooting in Britain and Ireland using examples from the proshooting press and shooting memoirs. The paper then unpacks the role alcohol fulfils during the sporting day and questions whether it is problematic in this sport on three grounds: the health and safety of participants; for the policing and regulation of legal gun ownership and; for
the sustainability and viability of sporting shooting in a changing global countryside. The paper enhances knowledge and understanding in the
sociology of sport by broadening the notion of sporting conduct within the
sport-alcohol nexus. Examining the sport-alcohol nexus in the context of sporting shooting and by demarking changes taking place in the British countryside itself. Two cultures participate in game shooting: for its intrinsic reward (the ‘true countryman’) and those perceiving the countryside and its elite activities in more instrumental terms (the
networker). The long-term implications of this trend are unknown, but it may indicate a threat to the sustainability and long-term viability of sporting shooting if it becomes a purely commercial venture.