- Beyond the playing field: experiences of sport, social capital and integration among Somalis in Australia
- Ethnic and Racial Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 35 | 9
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This paper explores the role of recreational sport as a means and marker of social integration by analysing the lived experiences of Somali people from refugee backgrounds with sport. Drawing on a three-year multi-sided ethnography, the paper examines the extent to and ways in which participation in sport contributes to Somali Australians' bonding, bridging, and linking social capital. It is shown how social bonds and bridges developed in the sports context assist in the (re)building of community networks that have been eroded by war and displacement. Sport's contribution to social capital should however be neither overstated nor over-generalized. Bridging social capital in sport is relatively weak and few bridges are established between Somalis and the host community. Negative social encounters such as discrimination and aggression can highlight and reinforce group boundaries. Access to and use of linking social capital is also unequally distributed across gender, age, ethnic, and socio-economic lines.
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