This paper offers a critique of the much-vaunted claims of sports ability to integrate new migrants by generating social capital. By examining a growing literature base alongside new empirical evidence, we explore whether the experiences of new migrants actually reflect the hypothetical claims made by some policy-makers and scholars about the role of sport in tackling exclusion, promoting inclusion and constructing interculturalism. We demonstrate that the claims made about the value of sport are not found in the experiences of most of our respondents from new migrant communities living in Leeds, UK. We question whether sport truly is communicative in the Habermasian sense, contributing to identity projects, and so counsel caution in using it as a panacea to promote belonging and cohesion. This was a purpose for which leisure opportunities seemed more suited (at least for participants) in our research.
SOURCE: Spracklen, Karl; Long, Jonathan and Hylton, Kevin. “Leisure opportunities and new migrant communities.” Leisure Studies [Published online: 17 Jul 2014]
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