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Durham University

Research & business

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Alex Hodge, BSc., MSc., AFHEA

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Hodge joined The Department of Sociology in February 2014 after obtaining an MSc in Business Management (with Merit) from Durham University Business School. While at DUBS, he focussed his interests around athletic motivation as a result of funding and scholarships, organizational behaviour, and other employee benefits. Prior to attending Durham he obtained a BSc in Mathematics from Bentley University in the United States and spent two years working in industry as an actuary.

Hodge is a postgraduate teaching assistant on the undergraduate Sport, Exercise, and Physical Activity course, an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a student member of the University's Learning and Teaching Network. He is a member for the Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing's early career researchers committee, and in 2016 he founded DU RISES (Durham University Researchers In Sport & Exercise Sciences) which brings together PhD researchers from across the university who share an interest in sport. He submitted his thesis in February, 2018 and is awaiting his viva.

Current Research

Hodge's thesis coined the term "athlemaphilia" to represent meaningful affective connections to sport. His research combines elements of attachment and self-determination theories, along with the three-factor theory of anthropomorphism, to explore how and why some athletes create nonhuman relationships with their sport. His findings to date challenge the interpersonal requirement of relatedness, suggesting that some athlemaphilic relationships are similar to other salient nonhuman forms of attachment (e.g., pets, places, fictional characters, food, deities). His thesis has also generated preliminary experimental evidence that athlemaphilic relationships can compensate for depleted affect following experiences of interpersonal uncertainty. He acknowledges the need for interpersonal interaction as well as the impact others in our sporting environments can have upon the athlemaphilic relationship we develop, while championing the need for a wider recognition that the benefits derived from sport are not exclusively the result of interpersonal interactions.

Follow him and athlemaphilia on Twitter to keep up to date: @TheAlexHodge & @Athlemaphilia

Research Interests

  • Athlemaphilia
  • Sport
  • Attachment Theory
  • Self-Determination Theory
  • Relationships (nonhuman or otherwise)
  • Anthropomorphism
  • Polyamory

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