Accepted paper:

Return or continuation of racism in sport? Muslim women in sport and integration discourses in Europe

Authors:

Jasmijn Rana (Leiden University)

Paper short abstract:

Femininity of migrant women is often constructed as antagonistic to physical activity, positioning them as in need of 'saving'. Based on my research on kickboxing, this paper argues that both policies and research reinforce racial and social-class hierarchies and other forms of inequality.

Paper long abstract:

The greatest paradox of sports is that 'it is an arena where certain forms of racism, particularly cultural racisms, have been most effectively challenged. Yet, at the very same time, it has provided a platform for racist sentiments to be most clearly expressed' (Carrington and McDonald 2001: 2). The question of race or ethnicity within sports in Europe has long suffered an eclipse. Because the focus has often been on class positions and how habitual practices reproduce them, other axes of differentiation, such as gender and race, have largely been neglected. The few studies that have taken racism seriously, have by and large focussed on right-wing sentiments among fans of working class sports, such as football (soccer). Nevertheless, an emergent body of work has begun to address the sport practices of specific ethnic minority groups in Europe, and for more than a decade, the study of sports and racism has been on the rise. In many of these studies however, the femininity of ethnic minorities is often constructed as antagonistic to physical activity, positioning women of migrant backgrounds as 'lagging behind' and in need of 'saving'. Starting from my own ethnographic field research on women's kickboxing, in this paper I argue that both the policies that are discussed in these previous studies, as the studies themselves, reinforce racial and social-class hierarchies and other forms of inequality.

panel P141
The (im)mobility of race: European perspectives [Anthropology of Race and Ethnicity Network]