Refugees United: The role of activism and football in supporting refugees

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearch

Abstract

It was a bitterly cold February day and the opportunity to run around a bit was an exciting prospect. Although jeans, hoodie and a coat are not the most practical of football kits, they were essential for staying warm in the camp. Calais in winter is unforgiving as the sea breeze whips off the Channel. It was even harsher for those living in the ‘Jungle', the refugee camp on the edge of the French town. Even though I was volunteering in a medical clinic, the lack of heating provided an added incentive to my task of supplying cups of tea and coffee to those visiting. Wrapping up warm was also essential as I chatted to the young visitors whilst they were either waiting to see a nurse or doctor or simply wanting some respite from the cold. It is a humbling experience to realise that you have few practical or life essential skills, so making tea and having a chat was all I could do. Yet this was also life affirming and it reiterated the power of seemingly mundane social interactions. It quickly became apparent that an easy way to connect and communicate with the predominantly male refugees was through football. The global expanse of European football ensured that Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona were popular and easy topics of conversation. Different people from across the globe, who had vastly different life stories, could connect over a cup of tea and the relative merits of Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a short step from these conversations to having a kickabout. The French authorities had just cleared the southern part of the camp in an attempt to try and prevent more refugees from arriving. At the same time a ‘buffer zone' was created to obscure the camp from the public gaze of motorists on the motorway that whisked people away from the ferry terminal. The buffer zone did provide a flat sandy area that was particularly suitable for football. Jumpers became goalposts and the kickabout commenced. In one emotionally intense weekend, it became clear that football had an important role to play. As a sociologist, volunteering in the ‘Jungle' over
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransforming Sport: Knowledges, Practices and Structures
EditorsThomas Carter, Daniel Burdsey, Mark Doidge
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2018

Fingerprint

Refugees
Football
Activism
Tea
Cold
Volunteering
Jungle
Authority
Merit
Social Interaction
Coffee
Clinic
Calais
Sociologists
Doctors
Life Story
Winter
Incentives
Madrid
Barcelona

Cite this

Doidge, M. (2018). Refugees United: The role of activism and football in supporting refugees. In T. Carter, D. Burdsey, & M. Doidge (Eds.), Transforming Sport: Knowledges, Practices and Structures Abingdon.
Doidge, Mark. / Refugees United: The role of activism and football in supporting refugees. Transforming Sport: Knowledges, Practices and Structures. editor / Thomas Carter ; Daniel Burdsey ; Mark Doidge. Abingdon, 2018.
@inbook{2fc9095386834572a6c5ce073468a949,
title = "Refugees United: The role of activism and football in supporting refugees",
abstract = "It was a bitterly cold February day and the opportunity to run around a bit was an exciting prospect. Although jeans, hoodie and a coat are not the most practical of football kits, they were essential for staying warm in the camp. Calais in winter is unforgiving as the sea breeze whips off the Channel. It was even harsher for those living in the ‘Jungle', the refugee camp on the edge of the French town. Even though I was volunteering in a medical clinic, the lack of heating provided an added incentive to my task of supplying cups of tea and coffee to those visiting. Wrapping up warm was also essential as I chatted to the young visitors whilst they were either waiting to see a nurse or doctor or simply wanting some respite from the cold. It is a humbling experience to realise that you have few practical or life essential skills, so making tea and having a chat was all I could do. Yet this was also life affirming and it reiterated the power of seemingly mundane social interactions. It quickly became apparent that an easy way to connect and communicate with the predominantly male refugees was through football. The global expanse of European football ensured that Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona were popular and easy topics of conversation. Different people from across the globe, who had vastly different life stories, could connect over a cup of tea and the relative merits of Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a short step from these conversations to having a kickabout. The French authorities had just cleared the southern part of the camp in an attempt to try and prevent more refugees from arriving. At the same time a ‘buffer zone' was created to obscure the camp from the public gaze of motorists on the motorway that whisked people away from the ferry terminal. The buffer zone did provide a flat sandy area that was particularly suitable for football. Jumpers became goalposts and the kickabout commenced. In one emotionally intense weekend, it became clear that football had an important role to play. As a sociologist, volunteering in the ‘Jungle' over",
author = "Mark Doidge",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "30",
language = "English",
isbn = "9781138052246",
editor = "Thomas Carter and Daniel Burdsey and Mark Doidge",
booktitle = "Transforming Sport: Knowledges, Practices and Structures",

}

Doidge, M 2018, Refugees United: The role of activism and football in supporting refugees. in T Carter, D Burdsey & M Doidge (eds), Transforming Sport: Knowledges, Practices and Structures. Abingdon.

Refugees United: The role of activism and football in supporting refugees. / Doidge, Mark.

Transforming Sport: Knowledges, Practices and Structures. ed. / Thomas Carter; Daniel Burdsey; Mark Doidge. Abingdon, 2018.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterResearch

TY - CHAP

T1 - Refugees United: The role of activism and football in supporting refugees

AU - Doidge, Mark

PY - 2018/1/30

Y1 - 2018/1/30

N2 - It was a bitterly cold February day and the opportunity to run around a bit was an exciting prospect. Although jeans, hoodie and a coat are not the most practical of football kits, they were essential for staying warm in the camp. Calais in winter is unforgiving as the sea breeze whips off the Channel. It was even harsher for those living in the ‘Jungle', the refugee camp on the edge of the French town. Even though I was volunteering in a medical clinic, the lack of heating provided an added incentive to my task of supplying cups of tea and coffee to those visiting. Wrapping up warm was also essential as I chatted to the young visitors whilst they were either waiting to see a nurse or doctor or simply wanting some respite from the cold. It is a humbling experience to realise that you have few practical or life essential skills, so making tea and having a chat was all I could do. Yet this was also life affirming and it reiterated the power of seemingly mundane social interactions. It quickly became apparent that an easy way to connect and communicate with the predominantly male refugees was through football. The global expanse of European football ensured that Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona were popular and easy topics of conversation. Different people from across the globe, who had vastly different life stories, could connect over a cup of tea and the relative merits of Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a short step from these conversations to having a kickabout. The French authorities had just cleared the southern part of the camp in an attempt to try and prevent more refugees from arriving. At the same time a ‘buffer zone' was created to obscure the camp from the public gaze of motorists on the motorway that whisked people away from the ferry terminal. The buffer zone did provide a flat sandy area that was particularly suitable for football. Jumpers became goalposts and the kickabout commenced. In one emotionally intense weekend, it became clear that football had an important role to play. As a sociologist, volunteering in the ‘Jungle' over

AB - It was a bitterly cold February day and the opportunity to run around a bit was an exciting prospect. Although jeans, hoodie and a coat are not the most practical of football kits, they were essential for staying warm in the camp. Calais in winter is unforgiving as the sea breeze whips off the Channel. It was even harsher for those living in the ‘Jungle', the refugee camp on the edge of the French town. Even though I was volunteering in a medical clinic, the lack of heating provided an added incentive to my task of supplying cups of tea and coffee to those visiting. Wrapping up warm was also essential as I chatted to the young visitors whilst they were either waiting to see a nurse or doctor or simply wanting some respite from the cold. It is a humbling experience to realise that you have few practical or life essential skills, so making tea and having a chat was all I could do. Yet this was also life affirming and it reiterated the power of seemingly mundane social interactions. It quickly became apparent that an easy way to connect and communicate with the predominantly male refugees was through football. The global expanse of European football ensured that Arsenal, Real Madrid and Barcelona were popular and easy topics of conversation. Different people from across the globe, who had vastly different life stories, could connect over a cup of tea and the relative merits of Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a short step from these conversations to having a kickabout. The French authorities had just cleared the southern part of the camp in an attempt to try and prevent more refugees from arriving. At the same time a ‘buffer zone' was created to obscure the camp from the public gaze of motorists on the motorway that whisked people away from the ferry terminal. The buffer zone did provide a flat sandy area that was particularly suitable for football. Jumpers became goalposts and the kickabout commenced. In one emotionally intense weekend, it became clear that football had an important role to play. As a sociologist, volunteering in the ‘Jungle' over

M3 - Chapter

SN - 9781138052246

BT - Transforming Sport: Knowledges, Practices and Structures

A2 - Carter, Thomas

A2 - Burdsey, Daniel

A2 - Doidge, Mark

CY - Abingdon

ER -

Doidge M. Refugees United: The role of activism and football in supporting refugees. In Carter T, Burdsey D, Doidge M, editors, Transforming Sport: Knowledges, Practices and Structures. Abingdon. 2018