‘Integration is a lot of work.’—A study of integration policies in Norwegian football clubs
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionEuropean Journal for Sport and Society (EJSS). 2023, 20 (4), 351-367. 10.1080/16138171.2023.2182494
The Norwegian civil society holds a welfare mandate to promote the integration of migrants. Included in this mandate is a belief that sport holds a particular potential to facilitate integration. Voluntary sports clubs are perceived as open, democratic, and inclusive arenas in which children and youth can form togetherness and community building regardless of social background. This notion is reflected in national policy documents, stating that today’s sports policy is expected to reflect the diversity of Norwegian society. Leaning on different and critical perspectives on sports-related integration, this study will explore how voluntary football clubs in Norway translate their political mandate of integrating migrant children and youth and discuss the potential impacts of different perceptions and practices of integration. Nine directors of inclusion of different demographical areas in one of the largest cities in Norway were interviewed. The result seems to trace different discourses and types of integration policies, illustrating how sports clubs translate their integration mandate. Both functional and moral approaches were identified, and the study demonstrates how migrants encounter different opportunities and conditions to be integrated into sports as well as other social spheres of the civil society.