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Title: Football and immigrant communities : transnational diaspora politics, identities, and integration in Turkish-speaking ethnic football in London
Author: Unutulmaz, Kadir Onur
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 5619
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is on the Turkish-speaking community, comprising Turkish-Cypriots, Turks from Turkey, and Kurds from Turkey, and ethnic community football in London, which has been conceptualised as a transnational social field. It is intended as a contribution in the debates on the growing importance of issues of diasporic communities, their identity politics, and cultural integration in a context of ‘super-diversity’. There are three major analytical themes. The first is transnational diaspora politics, which is redefined to comprise any relationship of power or interest by mobilising diasporic connections. I argue that the Turkish-speaking community uses ethnic football as a means for communal mobilisation around and representation of their ethnic identity in the public space of London, a city of unique political-economic and symbolic significance for the Cyprus Conflict which helped create the Turkish and Greek Cypriot football leagues in London. I show that the Turkish-speaking community has ever since used football to create and maintain a bridge between London and all the different locations of the community including Cyprus, Turkey, Germany, and beyond. The second major theme is collective identities and how they are (re)produced, represented, and manifested in the diaspora. I argue that the nature of the field of ethnic football as a familiar, open, and welcoming space conveniently positioned between the Turkish-speaking private sphere and the British/Londoner public space has been a major factor accounting for the effectiveness of various identity projects to be pursued within this field. Lastly, after presenting the historical link between modern competitive sports and masculinity, I claim that the one defining aspect of all the ethnic identities reproduced within the field is their masculine character. The last analytical theme is the cultural integration of immigrant communities. Without adopting a normative definition of cultural integration, I have considered the implications of involvement in ethnic community football in terms of belonging, social inclusion, marginalisation, and the psychological development and well-being of the individuals involved. The presented and analysed discussion rejects any automatic causal link between involvement in sports and integration or that involvement in mono-ethnic sporting organisations and segregation. Having reviewed a few exemplary organisations, which used football for integration purposes, and the nature of the ethnic community leagues, I have also argued in this thesis that the field of ethnic community football, again due to its specific nature, structure, and position between the private and public spaces, offers a great potential to be engaged by local and national governments in the service of integration policies.
Supervisor: Keith, Michael Sponsor: Migration Research Programme at Koc University ; Turkish Petroleum Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anthropology ; Ethnographic practices ; Social anthropology ; Transnationalism ; Integration ; Migration ; Transnationalism and diaspora ; Political science ; Sociology ; Children and youth ; Ethnic minorities and ethnicity ; Gender ; Intergenerational relationships ; National identity ; Social mobility ; Urban Studies ; Internet and governance and democracy ; Turkish-speaking community in London ; ethnic football ; diaspora politics ; integration through sport ; gender and masculinity