Running for inclusion responsibility, (un)deservingness and the spectacle of integration in a s...


This study contributes to critical inter-disciplinary analyses of the meanings, uses and implications of sport-for-integration initiatives in relation to the contemporary politics of asylum in the Global North. It will do so, by drawing on an ethnographic study addressing the activities of FLAG21, a sport project based in Geneva, Switzerland, that employs running as an instrument of integration and health promotion for migrants and refugees. In advancing this discussion, we put to dialogue Nicholas De Genova’s work on the ‘border spectacle’ (2013) with critical analyses of integration in (forced) migration studies to explore what we call the ‘integration spectacle’. Through this lens, we address FLAG21 activities to examine the scenes of inclusion and the obscene of exclusion that sports projects aiming to foster refugees’ social integration can at the same time make visible and unwittingly conceal through their interventions. The discussion illuminates the ambivalent positions that sports interventions occupy within the politics and moral representations of asylum. This, as a premise to imagine, co-create and support sport and leisure practices and contexts that are more closely attending to and engaging with refugees’ experiences, struggles and trajectories within and beyond contemporary regimes of asylum.