Sport as a Context for Integration: Newly Arrived Immigrant Children in Sweden Drawing Sporting Experiences

International Journal of Humanities and Social Science 3 (18):35-45 (2021)
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Sport is a global phenomenon, which can make sport an important arena for integration into new societies. However, sport is also an expression of national culture and identities. The aim of this study is to explore images and experiences that newly-arrived immigrant children in Sweden have about sport in their country of origin, and challenges that can arise in processes of integration through sport. We asked 20 newly arrived children aged 10 to 13 to make drawings about sporting experiences from their countries of origin. Three themes emerged: sport as feeling joy, where activities were performed with friends during leisure time; sport as acting formally, where activities were carried out in clubs; and sport as a spectator, where children were non-participants. We emphasise that development of sport should be two-way processes, where cultural learning should be mutual processes. Immigrant children’s experiences should be foregrounded when utilising and developing sports programmes.


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