Institutional and Associative Initiatives Aimed at Sociocultural Integration via Sport in Paris and Madrid
Sport as a social and cultural phenomenon has been widely acclaimed for its integrative virtues. Physical and sport activity, either competitive or recreational, has been attributed integrative values that allow for an increase in social status, an argument that is partly justified by the success of players with immigrant backgrounds in professional sports. On the other hand, associations, especially those generated by the immigrant community, also use sports organization as a form of solidarity and assertion of identity. The objective of this dissertation is to analyze the formulation of the sports programs at the political and associative level in the neighborhoods with the highest presence of young immigrants and/or second-generation immigrants in Paris and Madrid aimed at their sociocultural integration, and to analyze the implementation of these initiatives. The data-collection method consisted in holding 72 in-depth interviews at several levels of political responsibility and types of social entities, as well as a document analysis of institutional and associative sources. The results show differences between the approach and execution of initiatives conditioned by the integration model in each context (republican model’s opposition to community-based sport in Paris) and by the economic crisis (fragility of the programs because of budget and public funding cutbacks in Madrid). The conclusions of this dissertation seek to further explore the true contribution of sport to social and cultural integration of immigrant youths and, by extension, to culturally plural societies.