Cultivating “safe spaces” through a community sport-for-development (SFD) event: implications for acculturation

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The change that takes place as a result of contact between two or more cultures, often referred to as acculturation, can present challenges that impede adaptation. This has raised important policy concerns for governments seeking to support acculturating individuals and groups, particularly as global migration rates continue to increase. Community sport-for-development (SFD) events provide opportunities to cultivate “safe spaces” that support acculturation, yet this process is not inherent and in some instances sport can actually reinforce perceived barriers. The purpose of this study is to analyze how dimensions of safe space were cultivated through a community SFD event and assess their influence on acculturating individuals and groups in one American city. Data was generated through focus groups conducted with key informants and supplemented by observations conducted at games and events. The results of the theoretical thematic analysis indicate that the cultivation of safe space contributed to adaptation, yet also reveal nuances related to the cultural resonance of sport and the emergence of place-based identities that carry important theoretical and practical implications.




This article is the authors' final published version in Sport Managment, Volume 24, March 2021, Pages 226-249.

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1080/14413523.2021.1879559. Copyright © Informa UK Limited