'Crossing blue lines and baselines' : examining the migrations of North American workers in British professional basketball and ice hockey
This research project is a sociological examination of global athletic labour migration. Based on a figurational/process sociological analysis, and using a critical case study tracing the movements of North American athletic labourers into Britain's professional leagues in basketball and ice hockey, the research project examines four interdependent elements of the migration figuration. The study examines those processes which motivate North American migrant workers to select the British Basketball League (BBL) or Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) as their inigation destination, the processes which motivate BBL and EIHL coaches to recruit North American workers, the mechanisms by which the recruitment of North American workers is facilitated, and the effects of North American worker involvement in the leagues. Beyond the area of athletic labour migration this research project also provides a conceptual synthesis by combining research located within the sociology of sport and research from the sociology of highly skilled migration. The research project develops such a synthesis establishing that athletic migrants, who can justifiably be described as highly skilled using contemporary definItions, share many of the migratory characteristics identified for highly skilled workers in the broader employment environment. This research project both builds on existing research in the fields of athletic and highly skilled migration, and develops new knowledge and understanding. It shows that the migration of highly skilled athletic workers must be considered beyond the simple macro-level determinants of the supply and demand of human capital, or the separate, and independent, push and pull factors that have been described as facilitating migrant movement. In this respect, this research project points to multilayered, multi-dimensional, and multi-processual dynamics to better encapsulate how migratory movements are actually occurring.