Sports clubs as a medium for integrating immigrants

Adler-Zwahlen, Jenny (2018). Sports clubs as a medium for integrating immigrants In: 2018 World Congress of Sociology of Sport (p. 117). International Sociology of Sport Association

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Sports clubs play an important role in integration policy debates, as they can encourage social inclusion of people with a migrant background. This raises the question of the extent sports clubs deal with the issue and actually provide integration services. In this context, the focus of research is the objectives and measures at a club level, as well as the perceived integration of the members. Based on a research design that considered both the individual and the organizational level, 50 sports clubs and 780 sports club members (mean age = 21.0 years; ♀: 37.7%; immigrants: 38.2% in German-speaking Switzerland were examined by means of a written questionnaire. Nearly half of the football, basketball, martial arts, gymnastics, mountain and snow sports clubs indicate less than 10% migrant membership, and the other half of the clubs between 11% and 75% migrant membership. Empirical analysis was undertaken along the dimensions of social integration by Esser (2009). The following results should be noted: For 60% of sports clubs "openness to all population groups" is a very important goal; 48% have volunteers with a migrant background; discrimination and serious problems due to cultural diversity hardly occur. Sports club members are relatively well integrated socially, regardless of their migration status. Nonetheless, immigrants of the first generation sometimes have lower values of social inclusion than the third generation and natives. Initial analyses suggest that structural features of clubs like a high proportion of migrants, active integration work, and internal and external communication on integration issues can support the social integration.This study shows that sports clubs can make an important contribution to the social integration of young people with a migrant background. Nonetheless, inclusive efforts are needed at the member and club levels.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


Swiss Federal Institute of Sports Magglingen SFISM > EHSM - Lehre und Sportpädagogik > Integration und Prävention


Adler-Zwahlen, Jenny


International Sociology of Sport Association




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Date Deposited:

15 Dec 2021 15:21

Last Modified:

15 Dec 2021 15:21

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Uncontrolled Keywords:

Immigrants Integration Sports clubs




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