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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Gilberto Galeazzi

Gilberto Galeazzi
Gilberto Galeazzi
Sociology School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
Ethnography, organizations and institutions, Ritual, authority, culture, Qualitative Research Methods, Sociology of Sport, Identity, Power (domination, legitimacy), time, subculture

PhD Title

The Spirit of Caprera: an Ethnographic Analysis of Sailing


Professor Grant Jarvie 

Doctor Stephen Kemp

PhD Thesis Overview 

The Centro Velico Caprera is the most important sailing school of the Mediterranean Sea. The school's purpose is to replicate the normal way of life of a boat on the land. This precise ambition creates a very particular environment in which pupils, as well as instructors, are absorbed. The lifestyle, in such environment, forces people to live in close contact with each other. The life is controlled by rigid timetable that marks the rhythm of the day. Moreover, the fact of being isolated from the rest of the society contributes in a very important way in the creation of particular and peculiar dynamics. The people who habitually attend and come to the school refer to special characteristics of the island as “the spirit of Caprera”. This idea is hazy and undefined, and includes very different aspects. People who are captured by this place dynamics and features always refer to this idea, however when asked for any clarification they are unable to provide a clear definition. The research's aims are to investigate and explore the internal dynamics of this sailing school. In particular, the relationships that are created in such specific environment in which people live in close contact and with strict rules for a short period of time.

A qualitative research approach is proposed for this study; in particular, the method will consist of an ethnography composed by participant observations and interviews. The intent is to become part of this environment and actively participate to the practices, rituals and life of the people involved in the school. The access to the field will be guaranteed by the active role that the researcher have had in the last years as an active sailing instructor. In the development of the research four different issues will be considered and studied. The theoretical concepts are used as sensitizing and 'elastic' devices for illuminating the particulars historical instances. These elements have to be considered as "benchmarks" and will be used as heuristic benchmarks to orient the analysis and establish the particular features of the object of study. They are: the idea of institutions and in particular total institutions, status and roles, routine and rituals, subculture and power.  


Book review:

The Cultural Politics of Lifestyle Sports Belinda Wheaton, Routledge, London, 2013. Published in: The Sociological Review, May 2015, Wiley. 


Galeazzi G, "The Spirit of Caprera: an Ethnographic Analysis of Sailing", Sociology New Directions Conference, the University of Edinburgh, 30-31 March 2015 

Galeazzi G,  "The Role of Time in the Creation of a Collective Spiritual Essence in a Sailing School", Sociology New Directions Conference, the University of Edinburgh, 21-22 March 2016 

Galeazzi G. "The Role of Time in the Creation of a Collective Spiritual Essence in a Sailing School", British Sociological Association (BSA) 2016 Annual Conference, Aston University, Birmingham, 6-7-8 April 2016

Galeazzi G. "The Role of Time in the Creation of a Collective Spiritual Essence in a Sailing School", North American Society for Sociology of Sport (NASSS) 2016 Annual Conference, Tampa Bay, Florida, 2-3-4-5 November 2016


Sociology New Directions Conference 2016, The University of Edinburgh

Sociology New Directions Conference 2017, The University of Edinburgh


September 2014, Master of Arts in Sociological Research, Department of Sociology, University of Essex

July 2013, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Facoltà di Sociologia, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca


2016-2017 Tutor for:

  • Semester 1:
    • Sociology 1A
    • Sport in a Global Context
  • Semester 2:
    • Sociology 1B
    • Sport & Society 1

2015-2016 Tutor for:

  • Semester 1:
    • Sociology 1A
    • Sport in a Global Context
  • Semester 2:
    • Sociology 1B
    • Sport & Society 1