Otago PhD candidate Minhyeok Tak has received international recognition in his field, recently winning a European award for his paper, titled 'The Politics of Countermeasures against Match-fixing in Sport'.
Minhyeok, who won the 2015 Young Scholar Award for the European Association for Sociology of Sport (EASS), is delving into the world of sports betting and match-fixing for his doctorate.
"I am interested in the way that match-fixing is framed as a matter of individual morality and the contexts where sports combine with the betting industry for economic motivation."Looking specifically at the 2011 match-fixing scandal in the Korean professional football league, he is studying the sociology of sport, working under the co-supervision of Professor Steve Jackson, the Past President of the International Sociology of Sport Association and Dr Michael Sam, a leading expert in sport policy.
“I refer to this combination as the 'sports-betting complex' or the 'sports-betting regime', an institution that defines the roles of relevant actors and prescribes rules they should follow, advancing certain socio-cultural practices as a result.”
Minhyeok believes sociologists have to respond to social problems – when problems arise in society they should be examined and investigated so members of society can understand what is happening, how to solve them and how to prevent them happening again.
He came to the University of Otago to work with Professor Jackson and the other internationally recognised staff at the Otago School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, and stayed for the research-intensive atmosphere and the great support, as well as other incentives, such as the School's global connections.
His wife, Yoonjin, has just joined Minhyeok, to embark on her PhD in sports coaching at the School.