Erin Gerlach

Swiss youths, migration and integrative sport: A critical-constructive reading of popular discourse



Abstract: This paper critically interrogates widespread assumptions pertaining to the integrative function of sporting involvement in Switzerland. It focuses specifically on young people living in a culturally diverse area and how they make use of discursive variations of the integrative sport text. Interview material draws attention to four main sub-texts that frame sport as: a pedagogical tool, a site of interpersonal exchange, a method of catharsis, and as an apolitical activity without relevance to ethnicity. It is argued that these sub-texts: (1) are embedded within broader culturalist discourse and, (2) either support divisive social relations or do little to challenge them. Both instances suggest that changes are necessary to the way sport is ‘produced’ in discourse if it is to positively influence ethnic relations.
Keywords: Critical discourse analysis, culturalist discourse, ethnicity, Putnam