Sport for newcomers: Individual and community empowerment

Jeppe Klarskov Hansen

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Refugees are challenged by many personal troubles as they attempt to establish lives in a new society. Current immigration policies demand job training and language acquisition, leaving limited resources for newcomers to participate in health-promoting leisure activity, such as playing sport in local clubs. In this chapter, I understand such challenges for refugee families not merely as personal troubles but as experiences that are shaped by larger social forces involving, among others, postcolonial relationships. Even when attempts are made to support refugee families’ access to leisure activities through, for example, sport for development programs, such programs often reproduce postcolonial images of the underdeveloped “other”. This chapter focuses on a sport for development program designed by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) that seeks to empower parents who are refugees by providing support for their children's leisure activities. While this program manages to empower individuals with refugee backgrounds, it remains critical to also empower their local communities. Thus, I argue for paying attention to the intersection of biography and social structure; that is, examining the connections between individual families and empowered communities that may afford newcomers a balance between autonomy and support to become integrated into their new locales.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Issues in Sport, Leisure, and Health
EditorsSine Agergaard, David Karen
Number of pages14
Publication dateOct 2023
ISBN (Print)9781032300245
ISBN (Electronic)9781003303138
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023


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