Speaking of Acculturation and Immigrant Athletes: What Thematic Analysis and Discourse Analysis Can Tell Us about Navigating Two World Views
Kerry McGannon, Laurentian University, Canada
Theme: Social and cultural diversity
Program ID: SYM-08
Presentation: October 3, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am
Writings concerning the acculturation of immigrant athletes are limited (Ryba et al., 2012) despite the presence of sizeable numbers of these athletes in sport (Kontos, 2009; Schinke & McGannon, in press). Critical theorists within cultural psychology have raised questions concerning the conceptions of acculturation and how appropriate such conceptions are in aligning with immigrants’ experiences (Bowskill, Lyons & Coyle, 2007; Verkuyten, 2005). Such critiques are part of a dialogue that conceptualizes acculturation as a complex, fluid process linked to self-identity, social networks, power and discourse (Chirkov, 2009). Within this presentation, we extend the foregoing critiques and dialogue into the realm immigrant athlete acculturation using two different qualitative research methodologies. Drawing upon focus groups with immigrant elite athletes relocated to Canada (n=13) and coaches working with such athletes (n=10), we first show one central theme identified via thematic analysis: Navigating two world views: home country vs. host country, and a subtheme of “frustrations”. The meaning and experience of “frustrations” was shown to change, as athletes navigated two world views. To further understand and “unpack” the complex and contradictory meanings of “frustration” within the context of the two world views, we shift the discussion to discourse analysis. Through discourse analysis, we show how these differential meanings and the effects (e.g., psychological, behavioural) are simultaneously (re)produced via athletes’ and social agents’ (e.g., coaches) everyday talk (McGannon & Schinke, 2013) which is framed by various discursive, political and structural forces (e.g., the Canadian Sport system). We conclude with a discussion of what each of these methodological approaches contributes toward further understanding immigrant athlete acculturation and how such contributions are useful in future research in multicultural sport contexts.