”We just say hi and welcome! Put on your shoes”: A qualitative study of how sports associations respond to newly arrived immigrants

In Swedish

Emelie Jönsson
Department of Sport Sciences, Malmö University

The purpose of this study is to create an understanding of how the leaders from two Swedish team sports clubs see themselves and their integrative efforts in the meeting with newly arrived refugees, by using the concepts of ethnocentrism (Sumner) and sense of coherence, SOC (Antonovsky). In the study, qualitative interviews were done with sport club leaders. The results show that there are different ways to work with newly arrived immigrants; either by including them in regular activities or by creating separate teams. Whichever way the sports clubs choose to go, it provides the newly arrived immigrants with several positive assets and emotions that will increase their SOC. The study also shows that sports clubs have a belief that their choice of team formations creates a feeling of unification within the team, whether they choose to put newly arrived in separate teams or not. However, choosing separate teams constructs ethnocentrism and an unspoken “us” versus “them” perspective, while multi-ethnic teams create a sense of an “us” and a different and less harmful form of ethnocentrism where the club creates a joint culture.

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EMELIE JÖNSSON har en Bachelor degree in Social Science and Sports, specializing in Sport management, from Malmö University. She has a keen interest problems surrounding the integration of newly arrived refugees in Sweden, and the potentiality of sports in that process. In June 2017, Emelie’s Bachelor’s essay that is the basis for this article was awarded a prize of SEK 15 000 by Malmö University.

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