Uprooted grassroots: transnational migrants in lower levels of English football
The deadline for 2012 Doctoral College Studentships has now passed.
The Brighton Doctoral College is pleased to welcome applications from self-funded or externally sponsored students for programmes of research in this or a closely related area, beginning from September 2012. Applications are welcome from students wishing to study full time or part time, and applications are welcome from students in employment who have the support of their employers.
- Based in the Faculty of Education and Sport
- Supervisors: Dr Thomas Carter; Dr Daniel Burdsey; Professor John Sugden.
The university cannot guarantee that students can start at their requested date unless deadlines are met.
- UK/EU students: The deadline for the university to receive applications for an entry date of October is the 1 August, for January entry it is the 1 November and for May it is the 1 March.
- International students: The deadline for the university to receive applications for an entry date of October is the 1 June, for January entry it is the 1 September and for May it is the 1 January.
Having become a truly global industry, the most visible aspects of football’s workforce, its athletes, are increasingly transnational in character, moving from country to country when contracted to do so. Popular assumptions about such footballers are that they enjoy lives of wealth, ease, and carefree travel based on the celebrity values that dominate the media.
Away from that media spotlight and the highest echelon of professional football in the UK, the experiences of professionals, migrant or not, are not glamorous, easy, or carefree (Burdsey 2007). All migrants face cultural barriers and linguistic challenges, but those toiling on dodgy pitches, with lesser equipment, in front of sparse crowds, are caught in particularly precarious employment conditions (Carter 2011).
It is rarely publicly acknowledged that their efforts are, in fact, often arduous forms of labour. The focus has been on international migrants coming to Europe from elsewhere, with particular attention being paid to the apparent exodus out of Africa (Darby 2007). However, this focus has remained institutionally skewed, focusing upon the elite leagues in Europe even though the vast majority of football migrants toil in leagues far from the media headlines. How do these migrants procure their contracts and enable their moves overseas? What do they experience and how do they deal with linguistic, cultural, and professional challenges, whilst meeting the high expectations of employers and fans? These questions have attracted little attention. This is especially true of the English lower leagues and smaller clubs with severe economic constraints. Where these athletes came from, how they ended up in these out-of-the-way places, and what motivates them to stay (or not) are issues of especial interest.
This project extends the world-leading sport research by Brighton researchers on the globalization of sport, identity politics, and political economy within the University’s Sport and International Relations theme. The supervisory team consists of Dr Thomas Carter, ethnographer on transnational labour migration, Dr Daniel Burdsey, scholar on race and ethnicity in British sport, and Professor John Sugden, a recognised authority on football and globalisation.
Burdsey, Daniel (2007) British Asians and Football: Culture, Identity, Exclusion. London: Routledge.
Carter, Thomas F. (2011) In Foreign Fields: The Politics and Experiences of Transnational Sport Migration. London: Pluto Press.
Darby, Paul (2007) Out of Africa: The Exodus of Elite African Football Talent to Europe. WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society 10:443-456.