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"Everyone can play football no matter where they come from": Discourses in open sport activities for newly arrived children and teenagers
Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, University West, Vänersborg, Sweden.
Department Food and Nutrition and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department Food and Nutrition and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8345-8994
2017 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The recent international crises has brought about the largest movements of refugees since World War II. There is a need for constructive strategies to manage the challenges the comprehensive migration imposes on society's ability to integrate new residents. Research highlights the central role of civil society organizations to create trust, social networks and civic engagement, i.e. basic conditions for a democratic society (Putnam, 2013; Wijkström, 2012). International research also shows that civil society organizations and the voluntary sector can have a compensating function for economically and socially disadvantaged groups (Field, 2005; Portes & Rumbaut; Zhou & Kim, 2006). Many of these organizations have an ambition to welcome newcomers and offer a social milieu and a meaningful leisure time. Sports are often considered as contributing to the inclusion in society of marginalized groups (Misener & Mason, 2006; Schulenkorf & Edwards, 2012). There is a well-established notion that participation in sports promotes positive identity construction, social inclusion and education for democratic citizenship (cf. Donnelly & Coakley, 2002). However, there is little scientific evidence that sport has the potential to fulfill this role,

In Sweden a strong emphasis has been put on the role of sports clubs to actively strengthen democratic values and equality. Different governments have provided extensive funding for this purpose, but also for the purpose of including children and youth independent of who they are and were they come from. However, there is little scientific evidence that sport clubs and their activities has the potential to fulfill this role in the community and there is very little systematically developed knowledge of how sporting activities and programs should be designed to achieve positive social outcomes (Rich, Misener & Dubeau, 2015). It is the leaders in the clubs that have the challenging task of ensuring that the objective of developing democratic values, equality, inclusion and well-being come true. Therefore it is important to examine how they understand and translate such normative goals into action.

The overall aim of the study is to explore the ways in which a sport club, in the context of open sport activities, are working with and potentially promoting values such as intercultural understanding, inclusion and equality among young people, of which a significant part are new arrivals in Sweden.  Research questions focused in this presentation are:

  • How are the open sports activities  organized, and what are their stated purposes?
  • What kind of discourses and practices dominate among the leaders of the open sport activities?

The sport club studied has since 2010 worked actively with various social projects aiming to promote intercultural understanding, inclusion, gender equality, counteract effects of social and economic segregation and increase young people's agency. The club is a football club which conducts organized football training for children and young people but have also "open sports activities" which is free of charge and requires no registration. Every other Friday arrange the sport club Sporty Friday” where they offer young people the opportunity to try basketball, football, table tennis, boxing, martial arts, wrestling and fencing. They also offer open football for both boys and girls and every week they engage 100-300 children and teenagers. These activities are financially supported by the municipality and are the focus of this research project.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Social Anthropology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-35142OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-35142DiVA: diva2:1146728
Conference
European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) 2017, 22 - 25 August 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark
Available from: 2017-10-03 Created: 2017-10-03 Last updated: 2017-10-10Bibliographically approved

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