Refugee youth, belonging and community sport

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Spaaij, Ramon ORCID: 0000-0002-1260-3111 (2014) Refugee youth, belonging and community sport. Leisure Studies. ISSN 0261-4367 (print) 1466-4496 (online)


This article examines community sport as a site where refugee youth negotiate belonging, which is conceptualised as a dynamic dialectic of ‘seeking’ and ‘granting’. Drawing on three years of ethnographic fieldwork among Somali Australian youth at community football (soccer) clubs in Melbourne, the article identifies the kinds of belonging that are constructed by refugee youth in community sport, the social processes that facilitate or impede these belongings, and the forms of boundary work involved. The belonging negotiated by Somali Australian youth in community sports clubs is multi-layered, dynamic and situational, and involves multiple boundary shifts. It operates at varying scales of experience from the sports team and local community to the transnational. The article shows that while social boundaries such as clan, team and locality are porous, other boundaries of inclusion/exclusion, notably gender, ethnicity and religion, tend to be more stable and more difficult to cross for Somali Australian youth in community football clubs.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/02614367.2014.893006
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science
Historical > FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL)
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords belonging, boundary work, refugees, settlement, sport
Citations in Scopus 100 - View on Scopus
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