Migration and Career Transitions in Professional Sports: Transnational Athletic Careers in a Psychological and Sociological Perspective

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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With rising globalization and professionalization within sports, athletes are increasingly migrating across national borders to take up work, and their athletic and nonathletic development is thereby shaped and lived in different countries. Through the analysis of interviews with female professional transnational athletes, this article contextualizes and discusses arguments for developing an interdisciplinary framework to account for lived experiences of the close intertwining between transnational migration and career development in professional sports. By combining our psychological and sociological perspectives, we identify three normative career transitions for transnational athletes. First of all, transnational recruitment that draws on social networks as well as individual agency. Secondly, establishment as a transnational athlete that is connected to cultural and psychological adaptation as well as development of transnational belonging, and thirdly, professional athletic career termination that for transnational athletes is connected to a (re)constitution of one’s transnational network and sense of belonging.

Agergaard is with Department of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Copenhagen/Section of Sport Science, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark. Ryba is with Section of Sport Science, Department of Public Health Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

Address author correspondence to Sine Agergaard at sa@sport.au.dk.
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