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A Nordic sport social work in the context of refugee reception
Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Social Work. Södertörn University, Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES), Baltic & East European Graduate School (BEEGS).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2934-9313
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Ett nordiskt idrottsligt socialt arbete i kontexten av flyktingmottagande (Swedish)
Abstract [sv]

Idrotten antas gynna positiva utfall, såsom god hälsa, utökat socialt nätverk med mera, och har alltmer kommit att ta plats som en aktör som adresserar sociala frågor. Den här avhandlingen, som består av sex publicerade artiklar, undersöker de förutsättningar som krävs för att svenska idrottsföreningar ska kunna inkludera underrepresenterade grupper, såsom människor med migrantbakgrund. Detta görs delvis i kontexten av konflikten i Ukraina, där ungefär 50.000 ukrainska människor nu befinner sig i Sverige. I sin helhet visar studierna på att idrottsföreningar, ofta i socioekonomiskt utsatta områden, har ett stort jobb framför sig. Det krävs tid, systematik och olika typer av kapital för att idrottsföreningarna ska kunna jobba hållbart med inkluderingsfrågor. Idrottsföreningarna behöver ofta någon, eller flera, med personligt driv, stark lokal förankring, och en förmåga att knyta idrottsföreningen till andra aktörer i samhället. I kontexten av detta argumenteras det för att idrottsföreningar och idrottens samhällsnytta diskuteras mer explicit i samband med som i socialt arbete kallas ’samhällsarbete’, för att tydligare karva ut och konceptualisera idrottens roll inom socialt arbetes forskning. I den senare delen av avhandlingen undersöks inkluderandet av ukrainska migranter, och hur detta har upplevts av idrottsföreningarna. Detta görs både ur ett pragmatiskt och ett kritiskt perspektiv i avhandlingens två avslutande studier. Nästintill alla idrottsföreningar är övervägande positivt inställda till ukrainska migranter och hur dessa har välkomnats in i föreningen men i ett fåtal fall finns det viss friktion kring träningstraditioner mellan ukrainska barns föräldrar och svenska tränare. I den avslutande studien visas det även på hur ukrainska migranter pratas om som mer ’förtjänta’ av en god inkludering jämfört med andra migrantgrupper. Detta grundas i idéer om ukrainare som mer kulturellt lika svenskar, att dom inte utgör ett hot såsom andra grupper av flyktingar upplevs göra, och att ukrainare är mer villiga att bidra till svenska samhället än andra grupper. Sammantaget så kartlägger avhandlingen en rad viktiga faktorer att tänka på när idrottsföreningar jobbar mot underrepresenterade grupper, men visar även på att idrottsföreningar stundtals särbehandlar vissa grupper – detta strider då mot den vedertagna idén om att idrott är till för alla, som vägleder svensk idrottsrörelse.

Abstract [en]

Sports facilitate a range of positive outcomes, such as health, social networks and more, and have increasingly been considered a movement that is addressing social issues. This dissertation, consisting of six published articles, examines the necessary conditions for including underrepresented populations in Swedish sports clubs, such as people with migrant backgrounds. This is done, partially, in the context of the current conflict in Ukraine, where approximately 50.000 Ukrainians reside in Sweden. In summary, the studies show that sports clubs, often in underserved areas, have much work ahead of them. Time, consistency, and different types of capital are needed in order for the sports clubs to work in a sustainable fashion with social inclusion. Sports clubs need one, or more, individuals with personal drive, local anchoring, and with the ability to initiate collaborations with other important actors. Within this context, I argue that sports clubs should be more explicitly discussed in conjunction with what is known as ‘community work’ to more clearly carve out and conceptualize the role of sports within social work research. In the dissertation’s latter part, I explore the inclusion of Ukrainian migrants, and how this has been experienced by the sports clubs. This is done with both a practical, and critical, perspective in the dissertation’s two final studies. Almost all sports clubs are overwhelmingly positive towards Ukrainian migrants and how these have been welcomed into the sports clubs, but in a few instances, there have been frictions relating to ideas of training between Ukrainian youths’ parents and Swedish coaches. In the final study, I show how Ukrainian migrants often are talked about as more ‘deserving’ of being included compared to other migrant groups. This is grounded in ideas on Ukrainians as being more culturally similar to Swedes, that they do not pose the same security threat as other migrant groups are believed to do, and that Ukrainians are more willing to contribute to Swedish society compared to other groups. In summary, the dissertation maps out a range of critical factors to consider for sports clubs when they work with underrepresented populations, but also shows that sports clubs occasionally treat different groups differently – this conflicts with the idea that sports should be, equally, available to everyone; a guiding principle of the Swedish sports movement.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Huddinge: Södertörns högskola, 2023. , p. 268
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 220
Keywords [en]
Ukraine, migration, sports, social work
Keywords [sv]
Ukraina, migration, idrott, socialt arbete
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-51799ISBN: 978-91-89504-45-5 (print)ISBN: 978-91-89504-46-2 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-51799DiVA, id: diva2:1773474
Public defence
2023-09-22, MA648, Alfred Nobels Alle 7, Huddinge, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European StudiesAvailable from: 2023-08-16 Created: 2023-06-22 Last updated: 2023-08-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Facilitating migrant youths’ inclusion into Swedish sport clubs in underserved areas
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Facilitating migrant youths’ inclusion into Swedish sport clubs in underserved areas
2022 (English)In: Nordic Social Work Research, ISSN 2156-857X, E-ISSN 2156-8588Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The Swedish sports movement has gained an increasingly profound role in addressing social issues. One such issue is migrant youths’ social inclusion in underserved areas, and the underlying assumption is that sports clubs fulfill an important function here. However, retaining migrant youths in organized sports in these areas is difficult, and sports clubs often struggle with the resources to satisfy social policies. This paper explored the practices of 12 experienced Swedish sports clubs to illuminate the strategies deployed to recruit and retain migrant youths in underserved areas. Sports clubs were conceptualized as local development-initiatives according to Rothman’s community work classification, and the results were analysed with Bronfenbrenner’s Person-Process-Context-Time framework. The results show that sports clubs are run by compassionate and locally embedded individuals, but that the representatives’ different forms of capital and sensitivity differentiate their success. Three processes are stressed as essential. Clubs need to establish robust relationships with migrant youths’ parents. Secondly, since clubs are contingent on driven, but strained, individuals, it is imperative to recruit and utilize (migrant) youth trainers. Finally, sports clubs must work in tandem with important institutions, such as the school. In summary, sports clubs must adopt creative strategies, and have resilience, time, and support. These findings indicate that enabling migrant youths’ inclusion into sports requires holistic solutions. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2022
Keywords
acculturation, Europe, Integration, migrants, voluntary sport clubs
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-50467 (URN)10.1080/2156857X.2022.2155218 (DOI)2-s2.0-85144123481 (Scopus ID)
Note

This research was funded by a grant from Delmos.

Available from: 2023-01-02 Created: 2023-01-02 Last updated: 2023-06-22Bibliographically approved
2. A morphogenetic approach to sport and social inclusion: a case study of good will’s reproductive power
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A morphogenetic approach to sport and social inclusion: a case study of good will’s reproductive power
2023 (English)In: Sport in Society: Cultures, Media, Politics, Commerce, ISSN 1743-0437, E-ISSN 1743-0445, Vol. 26, no 5, p. 837-853Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recently, it has been suggested that critical realism offers a potential lens to understand sport and social change. This paper utilizes a case study with a Swedish martial arts club, renowned for its social inclusion culture and undertaking of a refugee initiative. I analyze this material according to Archer’s (1995) morphogenetic approach. The results show that several issues prevent the refugees’ social inclusion. According to the morphogenetic approach, these issues are due to structural- and cultural conditions, which partially set the stage for how the club responds to diversity. In contemplating incidents that hamper the initiative, informants deliberated how refugees fail to adopt specific ways of training and behaving. The narratives reflect the broader Swedish political climate concerning migrants’ adaptation, where assimilation, rather than integration, is preferred. Thus, the paper contributes towards the (critical) realist-understanding of sport and social inclusion and offers insights into generative mechanisms that underpin exclusionary practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
Keywords
social inclusion, critical realism, the morphogenetic approach, social change, migration
National Category
International Migration and Ethnic Relations
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-48852 (URN)10.1080/17430437.2022.2069013 (DOI)000788980200001 ()2-s2.0-85129196524 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-05-02 Created: 2022-05-02 Last updated: 2023-07-14Bibliographically approved
3. The role of the Swedish Sports Confederation in delivering sport in socioeconomically deprived areas
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of the Swedish Sports Confederation in delivering sport in socioeconomically deprived areas
2022 (English)In: International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, ISSN 1940-6940, E-ISSN 1940-6959, Vol. 14, no 4, p. 589-606Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study explores the role of the Swedish Sports Confederation (SSC) in its pursuit of supporting sports in socioeconomically deprived areas, specifically targeting ethnic minorities. This is no easy task, seeing as the SSC does so through ‘steering’ voluntary sport clubs towards social policy goals. Utilising multiple qualitative sources from 35 SSC representatives, this study examines the practices of the SSC according to Bronfenbrenner’s Process-Person-Context-Time approach. The results show that the SSC foreground their practices by initiating inter-sectoral collaborations to ensure sustainable funding to clubs and that the ‘principle of closeness’ permeates the practices; every link in the process is locally embedded and builds upon the strength of the clubs. The sport club consultant, acting as the direct link between exo-level directives and the clubs’ micro-setting becomes a key factor whose individual characteristics become a decisive factor. In conclusion, the SSC works in a complex collaborative sphere in which specific individuals become central in reaching the clubs. Importantly, the SSC adopts a bottom-up approach, recognising the strength and resourcefulness of the locals. The results have implications for federations that work under the governance of neoliberal result-oriented regimes – if sport clubs should carry out this work, the federations need to understand how they must accommodate and assist these sport clubs adequately.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2022
Keywords
Process-Person-Context- Time, sport federation, social inclusion, ethnic minorities. sport-for-all
National Category
Social Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-49708 (URN)10.1080/19406940.2022.2112260 (DOI)000841846900001 ()2-s2.0-85136234918 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2022-08-18 Created: 2022-08-18 Last updated: 2023-06-22Bibliographically approved
4. Understanding Central- and Eastern European migrants’ inclusion into sport: a Delphi study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding Central- and Eastern European migrants’ inclusion into sport: a Delphi study
2023 (English)In: International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, ISSN 1940-6940, E-ISSN 1940-6959, Vol. 15, no 1, p. 109-124Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The world is, again, witnessing a humanitarian ‘crisis’, as over seven million Ukrainian refugees have fled the border at the time of writing. Culturally sensitive practices are keys in leveraging sport for migrants. Yet, this research has not explored what cultural sensitivity is, regarding Central- and Eastern European (CEE) migrants. This paper assessed culturally contingent components when considering CEE migrants inclusion into European sport. The Delphi method was deployed, and three rounds of data collection were conducted. 19 CEE experts in sport (researchers, NGOs, governmental employees) were recruited to jointly produce a set of consensual directives. The results were analysed with Bronfenbrenner’s Process-Person-Context-Time model. The key agreements consisted of four significant themes. Facilitators included shared experiences of (organised) sport, and CEE migrants’ familiarity with other cultures. Barriers included the nature of labour migration on time- and economy to engage in leisure, and stereotypical and misleading perceptions of ‘post-soviet residents’. In conclusion, the results show that a range of similarities may exist between CEE and European (sport) contexts that could be conducive to CEE migrants’ inclusion into European sport, but that practitioners will need to be aware of sensitive Soviet history. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
Keywords
acculturation, Eastern Europe, Migration, social change, sport and integration
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-50576 (URN)10.1080/19406940.2022.2161597 (DOI)000901891200001 ()2-s2.0-85145051953 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-01-10 Created: 2023-01-10 Last updated: 2023-06-22Bibliographically approved
5. Ukrainian refugees and the Swedish sports movement: new opportunities and challenges
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ukrainian refugees and the Swedish sports movement: new opportunities and challenges
2023 (English)In: European Sport Management Quarterly, ISSN 1618-4742, E-ISSN 1746-031XArticle in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Research Question: The war in Ukraine has forced approximately eight million people into neighboring European countries. As part of sports clubs’ societal commitment, many have received Ukrainian refugees. However, compared to previous so-called ‘refugee waves’, forced migration from Ukraine is different in terms of demographics, culture, and (sports) traditions. This paper aimed to assess these ‘new’ nuances and their implications for the European sports movement. Research Methods: Data were gathered through 17 semi-structured interviews with Swedish sports club representatives, analyzed with a critical realist-inspired thematic analysis, and interpreted with Bronfenbrenner’s process-person-context-time framework. Results and Findings: The representatives expressed that Ukrainian refugees are more in-tune with organized sports compared to other refugee populations; however, there are also culturally discrepant ideas about sports. Specifically, there seems to be an influx of skilled (youth) refugees, who approach sports in ways incompatible with Swedish conventions about youth sports. While the sporting capital often enables easier inclusion, it also presents challenges in extreme cases. Implications: The findings show that the European sports movement must be attentive to new challenges and opportunities associated with the current humanitarian crisis. Sports representatives need to balance culturally sensitive approaches with ethical considerations regarding youth sports. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2023
Keywords
integration, migrants, refugees, sports clubs, Ukraine
National Category
Social Work Sport and Fitness Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-51213 (URN)10.1080/16184742.2023.2183230 (DOI)000942862300001 ()2-s2.0-85149387725 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-03-20 Created: 2023-03-20 Last updated: 2023-06-22Bibliographically approved
6. Ukrainian refugees' reception in Swedish sports clubs: 'deservingness' and 'promising victimhood'
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ukrainian refugees' reception in Swedish sports clubs: 'deservingness' and 'promising victimhood'
2023 (English)In: European Journal of Social Work, ISSN 1369-1457, E-ISSN 1468-2664Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

An emergent discourse along with a small, but growing, body of empirical research scrutinises how Ukrainian refugees are being treated differently compared to other refugee populations and how western societies construct 'hierarchies of victims'. For social work, a discipline designated to combat inequity, there is a strong incentive to understand if these hierarchies exist within welfare-providing organisations. This paper explores the Swedish sports movement's reception of Ukrainian refugees vis-a-vis other refugee populations through semi-structured interviews with sports representatives. The theoretical lens used is the perspective on 'promising victimhood', where refugees are framed as more or less worthy of the nation-state's protection and welfare benefit. The results show two themes. Ukrainian refugees are perceived to be culturally- and economically better 'performers'; they share Swedish values and are perceived as willing to contribute to Swedish society, whereas other refugee groups are depicted as lazy and culturally deviant. Second, the perception of Russia as a threat to Europe makes respondents sympathise to a greater extent with Ukrainian refugees. This sympathy is increased when representatives consider Ukrainian refugees' demographic characteristics: most are women and children. The results show that social work needs to be vigilant, and challenge, these ideas to not facilitate inequalities in refugees' reception.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023
Keywords
Ukraine, sports clubs, integration, migrants, deservingness
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-51430 (URN)10.1080/13691457.2023.2196375 (DOI)000963326300001 ()2-s2.0-85152386991 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-05-08 Created: 2023-05-08 Last updated: 2023-06-22Bibliographically approved

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  • apa
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-harvard.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-oxford.csl
  • Other style
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