Tutkijatohtori Gasche Malte ja työryhmä (Integration and Empowerment)

121900 €

Integration and Empowerment: Organized sports and newcomers in Finland

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Kaksivuotinen

This project seeks to examine the role of organized sports in the social integration of newcomers in Finland. We are specifically interested in how such a participation can contribute to individual and collective empowerment of persons with a migrant background. Sport is said to offer immigrants a wide range of integration potentials, thus opening ways for newcomers to gain a foothold in society. However, some social groups due to gender, ethnicity, religion, or socio-economic background are held back from joining sport clubs. We will investigate the integration prospects of organized sports from a structural and an individual perspective. Drawing on the concept of creative social policy, the project situates organized sports in the context of the Finnish welfare state with its aims to promote inclusion, to safeguard equality and to nourish every human being’s creative potential. In the assessment, individual sport club members with a history of migration will evaluate their own expectations and their experiences in club life, including the matter of overt and covert racism. In addressing these issues, the project will collaborate with six national sport associations (basketball, boxing, handball, ice hockey, skiing, soccer) and draw on 60 qualitative interview studies with persons of various levels of expertise involved in the process of sport and integration (from policy makers and sport officials to immigrants engaged in club sport activities and their parents). Also conscious of the need to make participation in sport clubs more accessible to immigrants, the Finnish Broadcasting Company, Yle, has agreed to collaborate with the research team on the project and initiate public debate and documentaries on the topic. Moreover, in collaboration with the Sports Museum of Finland the project will develop an online exhibition format on the museum’s website, including a series of podcasts, to present the results of the project.