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December 2015

Last modified: 22.12.2015



New research project at the University of Jyväskylä (Finland)

The Power play project examines how language, identity, and mobility have been discursively framed in the history of Finland’s hockey industry, and how people within a specific Finnish hockey market (players, fans, team management) currently view and experience them as obstacles or catalysts for success on and off the ice. The internationalization of Finland’s hockey industry is emblematic of the globalizing economy where labour mobility, with its different languages and identities, is used to gain short-term but high-stakes profit. This raises questions of how this difference is managed, marketed, and consumed in local spaces historically constructed as monolingual and monocultural, but now seeking to profit from both the circulation of non-local players and the loyalty to local belongings. Under certain conditions, foreign players’ languages and identities can complicate the cohesion and communication between teammates, and the interactions and allegiances with fans and local investors. In order to make this investment successful, the foreign players’ language and identity need to be discursively transformed into productive resources that fit within the team’s strategy to represent and profit from both locality and pride, as well as (inter)national appeal.

Through ethnographic fieldwork and critical discourse analysis, the project explores this social and linguistic management within key sites of a Finnish hockey team with a long history and strong fan support rooted in local identity and place, and with a recent history of importing foreign players primarily from Canada and the Czech Republic, but also from Sweden, Russia, and the US.  The initial phase of the project (December 2015 – June 2016) involves following the mobility and integration of two Canadian players, and the ways in which they were recruited and are currently marketed.
The Power play project is led by Prof. Sari Pietikäinen and post-doctoral researcher Dr. Emanuel da Silva both from the University of Jyväskylä’s Department of Languages in the section on Discourse Studies. In the early stages of its development, the project is currently supported by strategic seed funding from the Department of Languages until funding from larger agencies is secured. For more information please visit powerplayresearch.wordpress.com


The book 'Dominican Baseball: New Pride, Old Prejudice' written by Professor Alan Klein, member and manager of the Sport and Migration Network, won the 2015 'Outstanding Book Award' by The North American Society for the Sociology of Sport. It is the second time that Professor Klein has recived the award, as he also recived it in 1997 for the book 'Baseball on the Border'. 


The founder of Ghanaian based football academy and NGO ‘Right to Dream’, Tom Vernon, has recently taken over Danish Superliga side FC Nordsjælland, possibly heralding a new era in African-European football collaborations. After talks concerning a possible collaboration with Nordsjælland’s rivals FC Randers have been called off, Vernon’s company ‘The Pathway Group’ bought 90% of shares of the Danish champions of the 2010/11 season. Additionally Tom Vernon has been named the new chairman of the club based a few kilometers north of Copenhagen.

While stating that Right to Dream and FC Nordsjælland would both benefit from this collaboration and exchange their respective knowledge in football talent development, this collaboration would provide Right to Dream greater independence when it comes to possible transfers of their best talent’s to European clubs. FC Nordsjælland would probably function as the first hub for a number of Right to Dream’s talents in Europe and serve as a base for the academy to expose their local African talents on the European market.

While this is not the first time that an African based club or entrepreneur holds the majority of shares of a European club it will be interesting to follow this new case in which an African academy driven as a NGO has taken over ownership of a Nordic club. A collaboration led by Paul Darby and Sine Agergaard is seeking out opportunities to research this.


From June 8-11, 2016 the International Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA) will hold its World Congress in Budapest, Hungary at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. The local Organizing Committee – a collaboration of Hungarian academics working at St John’s University (New York, USA), the University of Physical Education (Budapest, Hungary) and Bell & Partners Communication – The theme of the conference is “Sport, Global Development, and Social Change.”

The deadline for abstract submission is January 22, 2016

We encourage all memebers to pursue the option of setting up panels on sports labour migration. The Sport and Migration Network will gladly help with inviting other members to any such panel.

Read more about the programme and the congress in general here


Call for Papers

5th international conference on Sport, Race and Ethnicity
University of Brighton, UK: Eastbourne Campus

Centre for Sport, Tourism and Leisure
10-13 July 2016

“Global im/mobilities – Sport and the politics of global social justice and solidarity”

The conference addresses aspects of race, ethnicity and migration in relation to all aspects of sport and physical culture. Theoretical or empirical presentations are welcomed, while contributions may draw on contemporary as well as historical perspectives
Keynote speakers: Dr Mahfoud Amara, Qatar University, Dr Rachael Miyung Joo, Middlebury College, USA, Professor Ketra Armstrong, University of Michigan, USA, and Professor David K. Wiggins, George Mason University, USA.
Plus: feature Plenary Session on Sport and the Global Refugee Crisis

We are looking for papers to form a dedicated panel on sports, race and migration. Papers will examine the interplay of migration and race. First of all how migration and other forms of movement shape the formation of racialized subjectivities and secondly, how racialized subjectivities shape the movements of migrants. Broadly speaking, this panel are interested in all questions involving how various sportspersons address issues of race, power, and migration. These can range from transnational sport migrants’ experiences of the ways in which regimes of race and mobility shape migratory patterns within sport, to how migrants and refugees might make use of sport and sporting practices. How does race and ethnicity inform questions of im/mobility, il/legality, and authoritative in/visibility and il/legibility? Do visible sport migrants challenge established racialized hierarchies where they currently are or where they originate?

If we have sufficient interest, this panel may become the spotlight panel of the conference. If you are interested in being part of this panel, please email Thomas Carter with your title and abstract (150 words max) to t.f.carter@brighton.ac.ukby January 31, 2016.

For further information about the conference contact:


The theme of the conference is Sport in the City: Mobility, Urbanity and Social Change.

Copenhagen is the city of cities when it comes to exercise and movement. The urban way of life is spreading in the entire western world and to a great extent influences the social interactions for better or worse. Late modern lifestyles full of physical activity form the urban landscape and shape a city, which is alive, open, and creative, but the social change processes also establish outsider groups in the shadows of the periphery. Social inequality and exclusion leave footprints in the dusty gravel of the parks.

Read more about the theme and programme here


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 sportmigration.au.dk or click here – remember to tick of the PhD study group box.

If you have any question fell free to address them to sportmigration@ph.au.dk


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 these information to sportmigration@ph.au.dk