September 2017

Last modified: 28.09.2017


Representing the second in a three part series on soccer and globalization, the conference “Reinforcing, Crossing and Transcending Borders:  Soccer in a Globalized World” took place in Athens, Greece between September 4th and the 6th. Organized by Harvard University, supported by Simmons College and hosted by Olympiacos F.C., the conference brought together scholars from four continents, former players and members of NGOs to engage in a discussion about the ways in which borders, border crossings and political and economic barriers influence global football. Panels included presentations on citizenship and belonging, community building, transnational fandom and expats and migration.

Paper topics included problems in defining citizenship in regard to national football clubs, LGBTQ participation in football matches in Turkey and Europe, social media and its effect on fandom in Zimbabwe and immobility for African youth players.  The conference also included two roundtable discussions, one on refugees and football and the other on former players’ experiences in the trans-national game.  The players’ panel which included former French World Cup winners Christian Karembeu and Lilian Thuram included themes which were raised in academic panel discussions such as race, colonialism and role of globalization in defining the sport.

The mix of participants made the proceedings unique in that the conference’s principal function was to create a dialogue between the academy, the football industry and social activists. This mix of voices led to questions such as:  Can football have a healing effect for displaced people?  What responsibility do football academies have to their youth players?  Should football strive to achieve assimilation for migrants to new places? While many of these questions were left unresolved, the conference format did provide a blueprint for moving discussions forward and for planning the third event in the series. Research, real world experience and plans for implementation seem to be the three necessary components in building relationships between diverse social actors that can lead to real world change.

While the conference did not produce definitive outcomes as to how to operationalize the types of research that was presented, it did prove that this type of partnership can not only provide a mechanism for exchanging ideas but can also produce commitments to work together on problems related to football and globalization.

Stephen Ortega


Network members are involved in an invited panel at the European College of Sport and Exercise Science annual conference in Dublin in July 2018. The panel, entitled ‘Encountering Sports Migration’ will see presentations from Sine Agergaard and Paul Darby on transnational migration and female football in West Africa; James Esson on issues, ethics and policy around football trafficking in Africa and; Daniel Guinness on faith, ethno-nationalism and talent in Fijian professional rugby aspirations.

We would encourage other members to consider submitting abstracts on their research. Abstract submission opens on 15 December 2017 and closes on 15 February 2018.

Further information on the conference co-hosted by Ulster University and University College Dublin, can be found at


Social inclusion is a pressing issue confronting all levels of sport today, and community sport in particular. The concept of community sport originally arose out of the observation that traditional sport participation patterns were dominated by advantaged groups of the population (Hylton and Totten 2008). In several communities around the world, this has led to a variety of programmes that mainly focus on reaching groups that are not attracted by or often drop out of mainstream sport activities and are characterized by their accessibility, affordability, local focus, modest budgets and relatively informal structures (Cuskelly 2004; Doherty, Misener, and Cuskelly 2014; Theeboom, Haudenhuyse, and De Knop 2010).

Yet, the policy ideal of ‘sport for all’ is not always realized in practice and providing evidence on the complex relationship between community sport and social inclusion remains challenging for researchers. This volume therefore seeks to bring together the latest cutting-edge research related to the dynamics of inclusion/exclusion in community sport, as well as the broader outcomes and impacts that community sport programmes/events may have in promoting, or hindering, social inclusion in other areas of life, such as employment, education and migrant integration. For this volume, all scholarly papers that empirically ground, compare and assess the relationship between community sport and social inclusion across different local, national and international contexts are invited.

Read more


The GLOBALSPORT project (“Globalization, Sport, and the Precarity of Masculinity”, was funded by a European Research Council Advanced Grant awarded in 2011 to Niko Besnier, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam and Research Professor, La Trobe University in Melbourne. The project ran from 2012 to 2017. It finished with two fully-funded PhD students, Mark Hann and Uroš Kovač, one partially funded PhD student, Michael K. Peters, and four postdoctoral fellows, Domenica Gisella Calabrò, Sebastián Fuentes, Daniel Guinness, and Adnan Hossain. The participants in the project have explored sport migrations (or the lack thereof) in five sports, namely association football, rugby union, cricket, marathon running, and Senegalese wrestling. They have conducted extensive fieldwork in Fiji (Guinness and Besnier), Tonga (Besnier), Argentina (Guinness and Fuentes), France (Guinness and Besnier), New Zealand and Italy (Calabrò), Senegal (Hann), Cameroon (Kovač), Japan and Kenya (Peters), and Poland and Slovakia (Kovač). In addition, the project received numerous visitors, including three PhD students who each spent several months participating in the project: Mariane da Silva Pisani, who is working on women’s football in Brasil; Romit Chowdhury, who is working on urban transportation and gender in Calcutta; and Leo Hopkinson, who is working on boxing in Ghana.

In the last year of the project, participants organized one panel at the biannual conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists in Milan, Italy (July 2016) and two panels at the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association in Minneapolis, United States (November 2017). Project members also organized one intensive writing workshop in Palm Springs, California (November 2017), another intensive writing workshop in Pitsidia, Crete, Greece (August 2017), and a closing conference at Vila Lanna, Prague, in June 2017.

The Vila Lanna conference brought together members of the project and invited guests, namely Sine Agergaard (Århus), Joseph Alter (Pittsburgh), Susan Brownell (Missouri St Louis), Paul Darby (Ulster), Jeanette Edwards (Manchester), James Esson (Loughborough), Richard Giulianotti (Loughborough), Leo Hopkinson (Edinburgh), Yoko Kanemasu (University of South Pacific), William Kelly (Yale), Linsday Krasnoff (independent scholar), Wolfram Manzenreiter (Vienna), John McManus (British Institute Ankara), Dino Numerato (Charles University), Sari Pietikäinen (Jyväskylä), Carmen Silvia de Moraes Rial (Santa Catarina Florianopolis), and Cheikh Tidiane Wane (Besançon). Papers were pre-circulated, presented by a participant other than the author, and discussed by all participants, while a rapporteur took notes.

The project has already given rise to a number of publications, details of which can be found at, the highlight of which so far is a book coauthored by Niko Besnier, Susan Brownell, and Thomas Carter entitled The Anthropology of Sport: Bodies, Borders, Biopolitics, which the University of California Press will release in November 2017, with translations into French (Presses de l’École normale supérieure) and Spanish (Siglo XXI Argentina) to follow. The EASA panel, the two AAA panels, the Palm Springs and Pitsidia workshops, and the Vila Lanna conference will generate two joint publications, one focusing on sport and migration, the other on sport and religion. Details will be available in due time on the GLOBALSPORT website.

Niko Besnier


The Network is happy to welcome the following new members:

Nina Szogs

I study how transnationalisation, Europeanisation and migration processes intersect with football fandom, through an analysis of the transnational narratives and practices of football fans. For my research I conduct ethnographic fieldwork in Austria, Turkey and Germany. I analyse the ways in which narratives about football fandom are linked to migrant experiences, including practices of (self )culturalization, and to the constructions of gender and class in the diasporic context. Further, I am a lecturer at the University of Vienna and work for an Austrian NGO.

Leulseged Petros (PHD Study Group)

During my Master , I conducted a research dissertation on the problem of Ethiopian youth athletes sport dropout. The project was aimed to identify the reasons for athletes’ dropout from organized sport involvement.

My current thesis project, ETHIOPIAN ATHLETES’ MIGRATION: DETERMINANTS AND IMPLICATIONS, follows my master's work while refocusing on one of the findings, migration. The idea of this project arose out of my personal aspiration resulted from the observation I had in the course of work being a coach in Ethiopian Youth Sport Academy Athlete Tirunesh Dibaba Sports Training Center from 2009 up to 2014.

John McManus

I'm a social anthropologist specialising in the study of sport, digital media and migration in Turkey and the Turkish diaspora. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of sport, migration and media: both in terms of athletes but also fans.

I am currently working on a book exploring the history and culture of football in Turkey, to be published with Orion Books in 2018. My next project - to begin in January 2018 - will explore Syrian refugees and sport access/participation in Turkey.


Yes they do! Alternatively, maybe a journalist, a graduate student or friend need to know this too!

They can sign up for the newsletter at the website by clicking the 'SUBSCRIBE' button.

Researchers who has published on sport and migration can also apply for a free membership by clicking on the 'APPLY FOR MEMBERSHIP'-button

All you need to do is to tell them about the website or forward them this newsletter.


The sport and migration network invites all PhD students in the field of sport and migration to join the network and share information about their projects and ongoing work. To ensure that we are up to date with the latest research in sport and migration we have created a study group for PhD students. Contrary to becoming a full member of the sport and migration network, you do not need international publications to be a part of the PhD study group; all we ask for are that you have a project description and a willingness to contribute to the network.

Apply as a member of the PhD study group using the ‘apply for membership’-link on the bottom of the front page of or click here – remember to tick of the PhD study group box.

If you have any questions, feel free to address them to


For the coming newsletters it will be possible to present new studies and discuss interesting findings. We would also like to encourage members to inform us of job adverts, conferences and books that may be of interest to the network. We have deadlines for submission to our newsletter on a quarterly basis; December 1, March 1, June 1 and September 1. 

Please direct this information to