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Young Gazan Refugees, Sport and Social Media: Understanding Migration as a Process of Becoming


Thorpe, H. & Wheaton, B.



International Migration Review

Tipo de publicación

Artículo de revista



Palabras clave

migration, Gaza, young refugees, sport, social media


Located at the intersection of two key literatures—refugee and sport migration studies—this article offers original insights into the lived and embodied experiences of young men migrating from Gaza to Europe. Drawing upon interviews with young Gazan men throughout the migration process and upon digital ethnography conducted from 2013 to 2018, it explains how these men used their physical prowess in the informal sport of parkour, combined with digital entrepreneurialism, to navigate alternative routes of migration to Europe. In prioritizing the young men’s narratives and offering rich empirical insight into the creative actions and strategic decisions made by youth at various stages throughout migration journeys, we challenge dominant portrayals of young refugees as “victims.” Migration is, thus, revealed as an ongoing and multi-dimensional process of becoming that operates within and across physical and digital spaces and over time. The first to evidence the struggles, creativity, and agency of Gazan youth in their efforts to escape lives of conflict and poverty, the article also prompts conceptual and methodological questions for youth and sport migration research. In particular, it highlights the need to explore the possibilities of digital methodologies for understanding the experiences of those in “hard to reach” places and those “on the move.”


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