Transitions: life stories and physical activities of Turkish migrants in Denmark

Hacisoftaoglu I., Pfister G.

SPORT IN SOCIETY, vol.15, no.3, pp.385-398, 2012 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/17430437.2012.653207
  • Journal Name: SPORT IN SOCIETY
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.385-398
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This article focuses on physical activities and body projects of female migrants from Turkey living in Copenhagen. Drawing on Bourdieu's concept of sports participation as a relationship between the supply of sport and the dispositions of individuals, we conducted qualitative in-depth interviews with five women. Their narratives about physical exercise, fitness and health were embedded in their life stories, which tell about their migration, their struggles in a foreign country, their isolation and their confrontation with discrimination. However, all of them found meaning in their lives in Denmark, through work and/or children and/or religion. Their biographies prove the agency of these women and their influence on social processes but also the heterogeneity of their experiences. Physical activities and sports are not at the centre of the lives of these women; they are not main assets in the struggle for integration but they are experienced as additional benefits and/or as duties in the pursuit of health and slimness.