The potential of female immigrants' integration into sport by intercultural clubs in Switzerland

Adler Zwahlen, Jenny; Weigelt-Schlesinger, Yvonne (2015). The potential of female immigrants' integration into sport by intercultural clubs in Switzerland. In: Sport, Unity & Conflict. 12th European Association for Sociology of Sport Conference. Book of Abstracts.. Dublin. 10.-13.06.2015.

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Sport participation means a privileged access to participate in the sport system and the opportunities of actual integration into sport (Seiberth et al., 2013). The access to sport activities is often restricted for female immigrants. The function of sport participation concerning exercise offers of social associations is not a common theme in research on migration or on sports-related integration. Research on boundaries (Lamont & Molnár, 2002) suggest that gender-related and ethnic boundaries are stable behavioural and cognitive patterns leading to unequal social opportunities. The present study examined the potential of a Swiss intercultural club regarding female immigrants’ integration into sport by focussing on gender-related and ethnic boundaries.
Ten interviews with female immigrants and conductress of an intercultural club plus a group discussion were held. Using qualitative content analysis and documentary method, findings reveal multifaceted, interwoven boundaries, e.g. maternal devotion, exclusive exercise offers for women, language learning devotion, religious need of headscarf. Otherwise resources to overcome boundaries are provided: Deploying competent employees; offering childcare, exercise offers suited to mothers‘ time schedule and language lessons; equitable, on integration focussed club-life. Thus, intercultural clubs might help to overcome boundaries and facilitate access to exercise for female immigrants and integrate them more successfully into sport than many sport clubs. A boundary focus and present data may open new perspectives for sport organisation and integration research. Further investigations of social associations offering exercise are advised.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Sociology and Management

UniBE Contributor:

Adler Zwahlen, Jenny and Weigelt-Schlesinger, Yvonne


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Jenny Adler Zwahlen

Date Deposited:

07 Oct 2015 09:45

Last Modified:

14 Oct 2015 15:03

Uncontrolled Keywords:

sport participation; female immigrants; boundary




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