1st Edition

Forced Migration and Sport Critical Dialogues across International Contexts and Disciplinary Boundaries

    This book aims to extend and deepen conversations among scholars, policymakers, and practitioners about the role of sport in relation to contexts and issues of forced migration.

    The chapters in this volume critically analyse and interrogate the implications of existing approaches, practices, and research around sport and forced migration across five themes: 1) participatory methodologies, power, voice and ethics; 2) emotions and embodiment; 3) gendered, socio-ecological and intersectional perspectives; 4) critical perspectives on integration and intercultural communication; and 5) fandom and media representations of forced migrants in elite sport. It does so by engaging with complex, yet necessary, dialogues and perspectives that cross disciplinary boundaries, and by not shying away from conceptual and ethical tensions that interrogate concepts, methodologies, policies, and forms of representation regarding forced migrants’ experiences and contributions to global sporting cultures.

    The book provides key contributions to advance critical scholarly analyses and inform applied interventions on the ground and will be beneficial to researchers and advanced students of Sports, Sociology and Politics. This book was originally published as a special issue of Sport in Society.

    Forced migration and sport: an introduction

    Ramón Spaaij, Carla Luguetti and Nicola De Martini Ugolotti 

    Part 1: Participatory methodologies, power, voice and ethics

    1. Critically examining a community-based participatory action research project with forced migrant youth

    Thierry R. F. Middleton, Robert J. Schinke, Deborah Lefebvre, Bahaa Habra, Diana Coholic and Cole Giffin

    2. ’Should I really be here?’: Problems of trust and ethics in PAR with young people from refugee backgrounds in sport and leisure

    Robyn Smith, Louise Mansfield and Emma Wainwright

    3. A collaborative self-study of ethical issues in participatory action research with refugee-background young people in grassroots football

    Carla Luguetti, Loy Singehebhuye and Ramón Spaaij

    4. Methodological challenges and opportunities in working within a participatory paradigm in the context of sport, forced migration and settlement: an insider perspective

    Shahrzad Enderle (Mohammadi) and Sepandarmaz Mashreghi

    5. Participatory action research and visual and digital methods with refugees in Kampala, Uganda: process, ethical complexities, and reciprocity

    Mitchell McSweeney, Robert Hakiza and Joselyne Namukhula 

    Part 2: Emotions, affect and embodiment 

    6. Exploring the somatic dimension for sport-based interventions: a refugee’s autoethnography

    Soolmaz Abooali 

    7. The (in)significance of footballing pleasures in the lives of forced migrant men

    Chris Webster 

    8. “They play together, they laugh together’: Sport, play and fun in refugee sport projects

    Berber Koopmans and Mark Doidge

    Part 3: Gender and intersectional perspectives 

    9. In her own words: a refugee’s story of forced migration, trauma, resilience, and soccer

    Meredith A. Whitley

    10. We exist, play sports, and will persist: everyday lives of Palestinian sportswomen through the lens of the ‘politics of invisibility’

    Hillary Kipnis

    11. Negotiating participation: African refugee and migrant women’s experiences of football

    Hayley Truskewycz, Murray Drummond and Ruth Jeanes 

    Part 4: Critical perspectives on integration and intercultural communication

    12. Running for inclusion: responsibility, (un)deservingness and the spectacle of integration in a sport-for-refugees intervention in Geneva, Switzerland

    Mridul Kataria and Nicola De Martini Ugolotti

    13. Escaping the position as ‘other’: a postcolonial perspective on refugees’ trajectories into volunteering in Danish sports clubs

    Sine Agergaard, Jeppe Klarskov Hansen, Jesper Seemann Serritzlew, Jonas Thorøe Olesen and Verena Lenneis

    14. The ‘integrative potential’ and socio-political constraints of football in Southeast Europe: a critical exploration of lived experiences of people seeking asylum

    Rahela Jurković and Ramón Spaaij

    15. Leaders building relationships with young refugees during a sport project

    Froukje Smits and Annelies Knoppers

    16. Disrupting the global refugee crisis or celebrity humanitarianism? Media frames of the refugee olympic team at 2016 Rio and 2020 Tokyo summer games

    Ryan Turcott and Emma S. Ariyo

    17. Stadia of Sanctuary? Forced migration, flawed football consumers and refugee supporters clubs

    Chris Stone


    Ramón Spaaij is Professor in the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University, Australia, and Visiting Professor in the Utrecht University School of Governance, The Netherlands. His research addresses sociocultural aspects and impacts of sport, with a focus on diversity, social inclusion, social change, and violence.

    Carla Luguetti is Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow in the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University, Australia, and an expert in sport pedagogy and social justice. Her work focuses on activist approaches within sport and physical education context, in collaboration with researchers and practitioners from all over the world.

    Nicola De Martini Ugolotti is Senior Lecturer in Sport and Physical Culture at Bournemouth University, United Kingdom, and member of Associazione Frantz Fanon, Italy. His research is located at the intersection of sport/leisure, urban and (forced) migration studies.