Informal sport and (non)belonging among Hazara migrants in Australia

Spaaij, Ramon ORCID: 0000-0002-1260-3111, Magee, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0002-4988-8405, Jeanes, Ruth ORCID: 0000-0002-3907-0108, Penney, Dawn ORCID: 0000-0002-2000-8953 and O’Connor, Justen ORCID: 0000-0001-6368-6693 (2023) Informal sport and (non)belonging among Hazara migrants in Australia. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. ISSN 1369-183X


Sport participation can offer migrants a modality to connect with dominant cultural norms and potentially foster interculturalism, yet it is often fraught with exclusion. Little is known about how informal sports that migrants have introduced into countries of resettlement affect their (non)belonging. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork over a 14-month period, this article examines how Hazara men’s involvement in the ethno-specific informal sport of sangarag influences their post-migration experiences of (non)belonging in Australia. The findings indicate that Hazara men’s construction of sangarag as a space and resource for belonging needs to be understood as a response to the challenging circumstances they experience in their settlement journeys. The overt and subtle politics of belonging that govern sangarag reinforce intra-group differentiations, most notably in relation to gender and ability. Further tensions stem from sangarag’s marginal status outside of the Australian sports system, leaving participants to feel unsupported and misrecognised by local institutions. Implications for policy include the need to recognise and support the value that informal sports can have for migrants’ ability to (re)claim a sense of belonging and wellbeing.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/1369183X.2023.2206002
Official URL
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4410 Sociology
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords Hazara, Australia, belonging, sport participation, migrant experiences, interculturalism
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