Professor Ben Carrington was born in Woolwich, south London and grew up in Thamesmead, one of Europe’s largest council estates and the picturesque backdrop for Stanley Kubrick’s dystopian portrayal of a future society, “A Clockwork Orange”. Having failed to make it as a professional footballer, he continued to Loughborough University where he studied sport sociology and leisure studies. His undergraduate thesis explored the late 1980s/early 1990s house music, or “rave” scene, and sparked his interest in the fields of cultural studies and cultural sociology. Encouraged by his mentor at Loughborough, the leisure policy expert Professor Ian Henry, he applied to the doctoral program at the Carnegie School at Leeds Metropolitan University where he worked with Professor Sheila Scraton and Dr. Peter Bramham on his PhD which examined the intersections of race, gender, class and nation within the cultural domain of sport and particularly the role of sport as a form of cultural politics within black communities. As such, Ben Carrington has forged a career from his interests in sociological theory, politics and popular culture.
After leaving Leeds, Ben Carrington taught the sociology of sport, popular culture and race at the Chelsea School, Brighton University from 1997 until 2004. In 2004 Ben left England and took up a position in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin where he has worked ever since. Outside of the Sociology Department at UT Austin, Ben Carrington remains actively engaged with a range of institutions and intellectual spaces, including the Center for European Studies, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies and the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies. He also holds an appointment with the African and African Diaspora Studies Department. Ben Carrington is also a Visiting Research Fellow in the Carnegie Faculty at Leeds Metropolitan University and is a Research Associate of the Centre for Urban and Community Research, based at Goldsmiths College, University of London.
He is widely regarded as one the world’s leading scholars on the sociology of race and culture, especially in relation to sports culture, and has given keynote addresses on these topics around the world in places such as Canada, Barbados, England and Denmark. One right-wing website once noted that Ben Carrington “is a typical academic that inserts two parts race and one part gender into every issue with a twist of Marx”, a description he quite likes. Despite retiring from semi-professional football when he left England, after a modestly successful career playing for the likes of Farsley Celtic and Guiseley in the north and a long spell at Worthing FC when teaching at Brighton, Ben Carrington can still occasionally be found tormenting defenses (and referees) for Waterloo FC on the pitches in and around Austin. Though not quite at the same pace that he used to.