A Preliminary Impact Model for the Integration of Young Refugees through Sports Programmes

Authors

  • Enrico Michelini TU Dortmund, Institut für Sport und Sportwissenschaft, Germany
  • Ulrike Burrmann Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany

Keywords:

Refugee, Integration, Realist evaluation, Sport

Abstract

This paper outlines a provisional impact model for the social integration of young refugees in German sports clubs through sports programmes. The questions ‘what works, under what circumstances, and for whom?’ are explored based on a Realist Evaluation of these programmes’ integration goals. For this purpose, the sports programmes for refugees of selected sports clubs were examined by considering: (1) the available requests for funding and reports produced by the clubs; (2) guideline-based interviews with the clubs’ contact persons; and (3) participant observations of selected programmes. The resulting data (documents, transcriptions and observation protocols) were analysed qualitatively and interpreted using Esser’s conceptualisation of integration. The impact model shows that integrative processes were observable within the sports programmes examined. To facilitate these processes, sport must ‘show its best side’, which cannot be taken for granted. Moreover, the relevance of sport as a means of integration could not be weighed, because the influencing factors are numerous, complex and interrelated. Hence, what is portrayed as the integrative power could be the result of more complex psychosocial processes that manifest themselves in sport. Theory-guided and empirically-based evaluations may contribute to the development of a more objective reflection on integration in/through sport.

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Published

2021-12-22