Last modified: 18.12.2018


Youth Sport, Migration and Culture. Two football teams and the changing face of  Ireland

This book will be released in February 2019 and is written by Max Mauro, School of Business, Law and Communications, Solent University, Southampton, UK. The book discusses: How can migrant youth negotiate their role in society through sport and leisure practices? How can political theory and qualitative critical research work together to make sense of these processes? These are among the questions that led to a long-term investigation of young males’ sport practices in Ireland, possibly the most fertile contemporary setting for the analysis of questions of sport and identity. Youth Sport, Migration and Culture emphasizes the epistemological and ethical urgency of doing research with rather than on young people. Engaging with the social changes in Irish society through the eyes of children of immigrants growing up in Ireland, the book looks closely at young people’s leisure practices in multi-ethnic contexts, and at issues of inclusion, racism and racialization in relation to public discourses around ‘national identity’ and immigration.

The text combines ethnographic narrative with critical analysis with the ambition of exploring, in the words of Charles Wright Mills, ‘personal troubles as public issues’. At the heart of the study are the lives of two distinctive teams: Mountview FC, an established youth club based in a working class neighborhood of North Dublin, and Insaka FC, a team recently set up by two former professional players from Nigeria with the help of one of the founders of Sport Against Racism Ireland (SARI). As a former journalist, the author provides also a reflexive and critical analysis of the transition from ‘deep reporting’ to ethnographic research, and of potential connections between different approaches to social analysis. 

Read more about the book


Sport, mobility and (the end of) negotiations of belonging – panel at German Anthropological Conference, 29 September to 2 October 2019, Konstanz

Sport offers anthropologists a to date little explored lens to ponder societal (trans-)formations in the Global South and beyond. Its analytical value becomes particularly evident, if we take into consideration how sport intersects with the triangular – i.e. spatial, temporal and socio-cultural – dimensions of human mobility. Understood in such a broad and encompassing way, the sport-mobility-nexus can connote various phenomena, ranging from societal integration, labor migration, life course dynamics (e.g. aging and health) and identity constructions (e.g. youth and lifestyle sports), to emerging middle class-related body practices. What these diverse phenomena have in common is that they demand social actors to most often negotiate multiple ways of belonging (e.g. citizenship, class, ethnicity, family, gender or professionalism) within one single arena. In this context, sport is frequently praised for its potential, such as to ease immigrant inclusion, to offer escape routes from poverty for athletes originating in the Global South and, more generally, to facilitate upward economic mobility. Yet, social negotiations within the sport-mobility-arena equally reveal how intersecting ways of belonging are conflict-laden or potentially irreconcilable, leading in extreme cases to the termination of social negotiations. While, for example, transnationally-mobile athletes from the Global South are required to navigate conflicting norms and values related to kin expectations and modern sport professionalism and consequently develop strategies to control or circumvent communal obligations, new leisure time activities among a rising African middle class fuel renegotiations of social distinction and potentially lead to a suspension of communication and interaction between people of various social spheres. Similarly, the recent case of Mesut Özil’s resignation from the German national football team has revealed how different perceptions of national belonging and societal integration may become non-negotiable altogether. Drawing inspiration from these examples, a call is out for ethnographically-driven papers which investigate the practices and discourses underlying negotiations of particular modes of social belonging and the potential closure of these negotiations, in order to scrutinize the opportunities and restrictions intrinsic to sport-related mobility.

Please send an abstract of max. 1,200 characters (incl. spaces) and also a short version of max. 300 characters (incl. spaces) directly to and before 15 February 2019.

More information about the conference is available here (in English from p.3)

Weaving Our Stories, June 4-6, 2019, Vancouver, British Columbia

 The Canadian Association for Leisure Studies (CALS) is hosting a conference in association with the 2019 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of British Columbia. The conference will take place in the modern City of Vancouver on the traditional and unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. The theme of the conference is “Weaving Our Stories”. In our efforts to “weave our stories” we will honor leisure studies and leisure stories to share diverse leisure perspectives, innovations, behaviors, practices, and methodologies – whether for conducting research or sharing findings. This conference theme reflects the current state of knowledge gathering and dissemination, and builds on the congress theme “Circles of Conversation”. Weaving our Stories” emphasizes the deep, two-way relationships between the university and the communities it serves. Explorations are welcome from anyone interested in leisure studies, which may include, but will not be limited to, the following areas:

  • Tourism Well-being Community development
  • Sport Family Technology
  • Parks and facilities Lifespan Recreation management
  • Sustainability Outdoor recreation Pop culture
  • Leisure spaces and places Diversity Epistemologies and
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning Methodologies
  • Therapeutic recreation

Note for students: We encourage students to submit their work, regardless of the stage of their studies.

Note for international scholars: Members in good standing of allied leisure associations (i.e., members of The Academy of Leisure Sciences, Leisure Studies Association, Australian and New Zealand Association for Leisure Studies, and NASSM) are welcome to join us in Vancouver at the CALS member rate (registration details are forthcoming).


Submission details: Submit your 250-word abstract by 17 December 2018 to:

Abstracts must be in Word format, using Times New Roman 12 pt. font, single spaced and include a title, list of authors and their affiliations, and contact information for the corresponding author. All abstracts will be subject to a double-blind review. Notification of acceptance will be sent out no later than the end of January 2019.


Global Sports, Masculinity and Exploitation: Views from Africa

In many countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, young men are increasingly consumed by dreams of migrating to a career in the sport industries of the Global North. For most, reality is much starker, as they have to contend with failure and exploitation. Are sport migrations yet another form of colonial oppression?

Date & time: Wednesday 19 December 2018 from 7 pm to 9 pm

Venue: OBA Oosterdok, Theaterzaal, Oosterdokskade 143, NL -1011 DL Amsterdam

More information is available at KNAW’s website  

PhD defenses

Two PhD defenses on related topics will take place in Amsterdam:

18 December 2018 from 10:00 to 11:00
The Precarity of Masculinity: Football, Pentecostalism, and Transnational Aspirations in Cameroon
By Uroš Kovač

Abstract - Young men in Cameroon dream of a glamorous career as a professional footballer, preferably abroad. This scenario is highly unlikely, though, resulting in new forms of insecurity. As a result, may young Cameroonian footballers turn to the Pentecostal church for advice. Uroš Kovač focuses on these young Cameroonian men in precarious circumstances who are increasingly concerned about becoming 'useless' and redundant in the eyes of their family. He argues that young men's aspirations of migrating abroad and playing professional football play a central role in the analysis of masculinity in West Africa after the structural neoliberal reforms of the 1980’s.
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20 December 2018 from 10:00 to 11:00

Sporting Aspirations: Football, Wrestling, and Neoliberal Subjectivity in Urban Senegal
By Mark Hann

Abstract - Thousands of young men in Senegal train every day in the hope of becoming professional football players or wrestlers. While football presents itself as a modern and international pursuit, wrestling is resolutely oriented towards supposedly traditional practices, steeped in ethnic lore and magico-religious practice, but the trajectories of the young men aspiring to make it in the two sports are remarkably similar. Mark Hann traces the emerging forms of neoliberal subjectivity developed by young athletes as they navigate the complex pathways of sporting aspiration.
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In the media

Football Leaks reveal problematic connection between African academy and European clubs

In a series of articles based on investigations related to “Football Leaks” the Danish newspaper Politiken sheds light on the links between the Ghanaian academy Right to Dream, Danish club FC Nordsjælland Manchester City. Find an English version of one of the articles here

Illegal racial profiling in scouting – Football Leaks

The management of French champion Paris Saint-Germain has admitted the practice of racial profiling of targeted players in order to reduce the number of players of African and West Indian ancestry in their teams. It took place over five years from 2013 to 2018. The collection of personal information regarding race, ethnicity or religion is prohibited in France. See the report here