Social Inclusion or Racism and Xenophobia?


Patsantaras, N., Kamperidou, I., & Panagiotopoulos, P. (2007). Social Inclusion or Racism and Xenophobia?. In Proceedings of the 13th Congress-Sports Justice, Present and Future. Mexico city. presented at the 15 November, Mexico City, Mexico: Presentation at the 13th IASL Congress Sports Justice, Present and Future, Mexico City, November 13 - 16, 2007. . Copy at

Date Presented:

15 November


Patsantaras, N.; Kamperidou, I.; Panagiotopoulos, P. (2007). “Social Inclusion or Xenophobia?" Presentation at the 13th IASL Congress Sports Justice, Present and Future, Mexico City, November 13 - 16, 2007. Organised by the International Association of Sports Law (I.A.S.L.), the Comision de Juventud Y Deporte, Senado de la Republica, Estados unidos Mexicanos. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4661.6806    


Developments in new technologies of mass communication have created unprecedented global audiences for ‘mega’ sports events. The positive social impact of these events, such as the social construction and redefinition of identity based on ethnic, racial and gender equity and equality has been overestimated. The alarming impact of globalization on racism and xenophobia has generated international discourse concerning the mainstreaming of cross-cultural understanding and dialogue, especially through sports. Contemporary critical theories have distinguished sport as a site through which non-inclusive practices of social exclusion, such racism and violence, can be identified. As an international expression, is sport a means to social inclusion and integration, or a social-conflict space closely linked to social inequality? A structural functional approach directs attention to the ways sports help society operate. However, a social-conflict analysis focuses on the inequalities in sports. Olympic sports were institutionalized as a social space with no boundaries, encompassing in their value system, respect for cultural and ethnic identities. The Olympic movement advocates ethnic self-definition and the peaceful coexistence of ethnic diversity in the international scene. However, the exploitation, or rather misuse of athletic activity has always been common practice in the history of the athletic phenomenon. Current discussions characterize sports as a means that serves the globalization process, namely the western model of cultural-societal globalization. What role can Olympic sports play today to preserve and safeguard cultural and ethnic diversity, namely to promote the empowerment of self-definition, multiethnic understanding, respect for ethnic identity and cross-cultural cooperation?

Key words: sport as a cultural ‘topos’, broader identities, respect for ethnic, racial and gender diversity, racism and xenophobia, non-inclusive practices of social exclusion, racial inclusion, sport identity, the gendered body, cultural diversity vs. ‘difference’, multi-dimensional and proactive strategies.