Rebecca Olive, PhD

  • Bachelor of Arts (University of Sydney), Bachelor of Arts (Hons 1) (Southern Cross University), PhD Cultural Studies and Human Movement Studies (UQ)
  • Lecturer in Socio-Cultural Studies

Contact details

Room: 409 (Connell Building 26B)
Phone: (07) 3365 7091


Rebecca Olive joined the School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences in February 2017. Her work contributes to critical social, cultural and historical teaching and research relating to sport, physical cultures, bodies, and health. She has previously held positions as a Lecturer with Southern Cross University and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The University of Waikato (2014-2016).

Rebecca publishes in journals and books across areas including Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Media Studies, Sport Sociology, and Sport History, and has recently co-edited a book with Holly Thorpe,Women in Action Sport Cultures. As well as scholarly publications, she is a regular contributor to surf media and festivals, and continues her blog,Making Friends With the Neighbours.

Research Interests

Rebecca's research explores recreational physical cultures in the field and on social media. Her work has focused on women and action/lifestyle sports and cultures, with a particular interest in surfing and the beach. Taking a feminist cultural studies approach to theories of power, ethics and pedagogy, she is interested in how we can influence cultural change in everyday lived physical cultures towards more inclusive representation and participation. Current projects include:

- Women and action/lifestyle sports

- Surfing and social justice programs

- Action/lifestyle sports as colonising practices

- Self-representation on social media - elite athletes, recreational sports and fitness cultures

- Using social media as a research method

Recent conference organisation:

- Co-organiser,Technicity. Temporality. Embodiment.Somatechnicsconference, Byron Bay, Australia, 1-3 December 2016

- Co-convener,Surfing Social: Challenging Surfer Identities and Spaces, Raglan, NZ, 10-12 Feb 2016

- Convener,The Future of Cycling: Challenges and Possibilities, Cambridge, NZ, October 1-2 2015

- Convener,The University of Waikato Gender Research Network, 2015

- Organising committee for The University of Waikato,Women in Leadership Day, 2015 

Selected Publications


Olive, R.(2016). Going surfing/Doing research: Learning how to negotiate cultural politics from women who surf,Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies, special issue, 'Situating research, situating practice: New voices in cultural research', 30(2), 171-182.

Olive, R.(2015). Reframing surfing: Physical culture in online spaces. Media International Australia, Incorporating Culture & Policy, No. 155, June, 99-107.

Olive, R.,L. McCuaig & M. G. Phillips, (2015). Women's recreational surfing: A patronizing experience,Sport, Education and Society, 20(2), 258-276.

Pavlidis, A. and R. Olive, (2014). 'On the track/in the bleachers: Authenticity and ethnographic research in sport and physical cultural studies', Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 17(2), 218-232.

Olive, R.(2013). ''Making friends with the neighbours': Blogging as a research method', International Journal of Cultural Studies, 16(1), 71-84.

Thorpe, H. &R. Olive, (2012). The power, politics and potential of feminist sports history: A multi-generational dialogue,Journal of Sport History, 39(3), 379-394.

Thorpe, H. &R. Olive, (2012). Introduction: Feminist sport history in the past, present and future, Journal of Sport History, 39(3), 373-378.

Olive, R.& H. Thorpe, (2011). Negotiating the F-word in the field: Doing feminist ethnography in action sport cultures,Sociology of SportJournal, 28(4), 421-440.

Edited Books

Thorpe, H. and Olive, R.(Eds.) (2016).Women in Action Sport Cultures: Power, Identity & Experience, London, Palgrave Macmillan.

Book Chapters

Olive, R. (In press). Un/intentional pedagogies: Impacts of feminist ethics and methods in practice. In B. Wheaton, L. Mansfield, & J Caudwell,Palgrave Handbook of Feminisms in Sport, Leisure and Physical Education, Palgrave.

Olive, R. & Thorpe, H. (In press). Feminist Ethnography and Physical Culture: Towards Reflexive, Political and Collaborative Methods. In M. Giardina (Ed.)Physical Culture, Ethnography, & the Body, Palgrave.

Olive, R.(2017). The Political Imperative of Feminism. In D. Andrews, M. Silk & H. Thorpe (Eds.),Routledge Handbook of Physical Cultural Studies, Routledge.

Lazarow, N. & Olive, R.(2017). Culture, Meaning and Sustainability in Surfing. In G. Bourne & J. Ponting (Eds.),Sustainable Surfing, Routledge.

Olive, R., Thorpe, H., Roy, G., Nemani, M., Wheaton, B., & Humberstone, B. (2017). Surfing Together: Exploring the Potential of a Collaborative Ethnographic Moment. In H. Thorpe & R. Olive, Women in Action Sport Cultures: Power, Identity & Experience (pp. 45-68). London, Palgrave Macmillan.

Thorpe, H.,Olive, R.,Beal, B., Booth, D., Laurendeau, J., Palmer, C., Rinehart, R.E., & Wheaton, B. (2017). Looking Back, Moving Forward? Reflections from Early Action Sport Researchers. In H. Thorpe & R. Olive, Women in Action Sport Cultures: Power, Identity & Experience (pp. 23-44). London, Palgrave Macmillan.

Thorpe, H. & Olive, R. (2016). Observations in Sport and Physical Cultural Studies. In B. Smith & A. Sparkes (Eds.),Handbook of Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise, (pp. 124-138). London: Routledge.

Olive, R. (2016). Women who surf: Female difference, intersecting subjectivities and cultural pedagogies. In A. Hickey (Ed.)The Pedagogies of Cultural Studies. (pp.179-197) Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Olive, R. (2015). Surfing, localism, place-based pedagogies, and ecological sensibilities in Australia. In B. Humberstone, H. Prince & K. Henderson (Eds.),Routledge International Handbook of Outdoor Studies, (pp. 501-510). Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Olive, R. (2015). Interactivity, blogs, and the ethics of doing sport history. In G. Osmond and M. G. Phillips (Eds.),Sport History in the Digital Age, (pp. 157-179) Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press.