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Professor Karl Spracklen - Leeds Beckett. Leeds, West Yorkshire, GB

Professor Karl Spracklen

Director of Research | Leeds Beckett University

Leeds, West Yorkshire, UNITED KINGDOM

Professor Karl Spracklen has written extensively on music, identity, and culture, with interests in alternativity and marginalisation.




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#ILoveMetal. Restarting UK LiveMusic. Karl Spracklen. Professor of Sociology & MetalStudies Academic




Karl Spracklen is a Professor of Sociology of Leisure and Culture based in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Director of Research for Social Policy. He was previously a Professor of Leisure Studies here at Leeds Beckett University.

Karl was the founder and principal editor of the journal Metal Music Studies, and an Ambassador for the International Society for Metal Music Studies. He has written extensively on music, subcultures, identity and leisure and culture, with interests in alternativity and marginalisation, and social inclusion and exclusion.

As well as popular music studies, Karl's research is based in the subject fields of leisure studies, sociology of leisure and leisure theory. He is a former Chair and of the Leisure Studies Association, and a current Ambassador for them. He is the Secretary of Research Committee 13 (Sociology of Leisure) of the International Sociological Association. He is the co-editor of a book series for Palgrave called Leisure Studies in a Global Era, and another for Emerald called Alternativity and Marginalization. He is the author of a number of key monographs and textbooks on leisure, and Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure.

Industry Expertise (3)



Writing and Editing

Areas of Expertise (10)

Nationalism and Identity in Music

Leisure and Diaspora







Digital Leisure

Heritage and Tourism

Education (4)

Leeds Metropolitan University: Ph.D., Leisure Studies 1996

Leeds Metropolitan University: Post-Graduate Certificate, Research Methodology 1995

Leeds University: M.A., History and Philosophy of Science 2002

Cambridge University: BA, Natural Sciences (History and Philosophy of Science) 1993

Hons, 1st Class

Affiliations (3)

  • Metal Music Studies : Founder and principal editor
  • International Society for Metal Music Studies : Ambassador
  • Leisure Studies Association : Ambassador

Languages (1)

  • English

Media Appearances (5)

Satan, death, mutilation and murder: why are heavy metal album covers so scary?

Metal Hammer  online


Karl Spracklen, Professor of Sociology of Music, Leisure and Culture at Leeds Beckett University, is the author of several papers exploring music counter-culture and so-called ‘dark leisure’.

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Professor Karl Spracklen Conferred as Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences

Leisure Studies Association  online


Former chair of the Leisure Studies Association, Prof Karl Spracklen has been conferred as Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences. The LSA nominated Karl for his extensive research in the field of leisure and popular music but for also promoting and championing leisure studies more broadly. Karl acts as an official ambassador for the LSA.

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Why experts say there's no such thing as a northern identity

Mirror  online


Professor Karl Spracklen says the template for what is now thought of as a northern culture was laid down centuries ago. Romantic figures such as Robin Hood helped maintain the fiction in later years, but he says the idea of a concept of ‘Yorkshireness’ is simply made-up.

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Academics create witch hunt against metal

Death Metal Underground  online


Karl Spracklen, previously interviewed here, became part of Metalgate when he “unfriended” me on Facebook and presumably helped block me from the Metpol mailing list after SJWs attacked me for allegedly having opinions that were not politically corrected. It is interesting that he, as a white male, caught the fear and now has joined the SJW side.

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British University Professor KARL SPRACKLEN Talks About His 'Metal Music Studies' (Video)



A video clip Dr. Karl Spracklen, Professor of Leisure Studies at Leeds Metropolitan University, talking about goals of the International Society Of Heavy Metal Studies (ISMMS) and his focus on black metal can be seen below.

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Event Appearances (4)

Up A Creek Without A Paddle? Where Leisure Studies Is And What Can Be Done About It

Leisure Studies Association conference  Liverpool John Moores University


Making Sense of Metal and the Metal Community: The Symbolic Construction of Metal Mythos

Mind Over Metal  University of Southern Denmark


The Performances of Everyday Living

The Aesthetics of Music and Sound  University of Southern Denmark


What did the Norwegians ever do for us? Actor-Network Theory, the Second Wave of Black Metal and the imaginary community of Heavy Metal

Heavy Metal Music and the Communal Experience  University of Puerto Rico


Articles (5)

Becoming and being goth: How goths remember the scene’s transition from the eighties into the nineties

Punk & Post-Punk

2021 Goth emerged from post-punk, and by the 1980s became an identifiable feature of the popular music scene and wider popular culture. Fuelled by the success of bands such as the Sisters of Mercy, goth music and culture spread around the world, interacting with wider alternative, gothic fashions. At the end of the 1980s, goth reached a peak of interest followed by retrenchment into the alternative, subcultural spaces from which it had emerged.

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The Artistic Work of Street Musicians in Barcelona and Rio De Janeiro: Interstices of Work and Leisure

Leisure Sciences

2021 This paper explores the social practice of musicians who play in the streets and public spaces of Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. We investigated the appropriation of these social spaces, the commodification of art on the streets, and the work/leisure relationship in the daily lives of these artists.

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Sports Fans and Fan Culture: A Critical Reflection on Fandom as Communicative Leisure in a Commodified World

International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure

2021 This critical reflection tries to understand sports fandom and sports fan culture by framing it in wider forms of fandom: music fandom and SF fandom. The reflection involves a review of key literature on sports fandom and wider fan cultures, but the main methodological focus is a critical reflection on the author's own fandoms.

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Khat-chewing, Moral Spacing and Belonging: Sociological Insights into the Cultural Space of the mafrish in the Leisure Lives of Older and Middle-aged British-Somali Males

International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure

2021 This paper explores the relationship between khat-chewing and feelings of collective sociality amongst older and middle-aged men living in Britain's Somali diaspora. The research's core investigates the feeling of moral connectivity, a sense of belonging with others based around a shared reading of Somali-British identity.

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Workington Man, Brexit and populism: discussions of politics, identity and class among rugby league fans online

British Politics

2021 In the run-up to the 2019 UK general election, Conservative think tank Onward identified Workington Man as the voter the Conservatives had to target to win seats in the Labour dominated, leave-voting north of England. Workington Man is white, working-class, with no university education, voted Leave in 2016, and he is a fan of rugby league.

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