This book is the fruit of a study involving both academic research and photo journalism. It was carried out in collaboration with the administrative offices forming part of the Olympic Studies Centre (The Catalan and Regional Governments – the Generalitat and the Diputació – and Barcelona City Hall) – and combines documentation, social research and photography that offers us a “new” vision of sport in our society. The contents of book, that form part of the exibition “Immigration: A new Cultural View of Sport”, highlight a lesser known dimesion of sport and our social reality; one that is very different from mass sporting events, or the practice of sport by the better off sectors of the population.
The book shows the social aspects of sport (in its most popular form) and how sports practiced by immigrant communities in Catalonia have affected social cohesion. Readers will discover sports, urban spaces and protagonists that very rarely feature in the media. Above all, they will find evidence of the rich fabric of society, of expressions of identity, of the unfolding of symbolic interchanges (rituals and celebrations) that the immigrant communities have organised around their sports.
This new cultural view of sport is a study of participation, inclusion, equality and the right to identity.
Sport is seen as a significant cultural institution influencing the dynamics of integration and social cohesion and having a positive effect on those immigrant communities that need to create their own activities and spaces in a less than welcoming urban environment.
This is an exhibition about immigration, but also one about sport; revealing a great deal about public policies in both areas. In terms of immigration policies, it will open our eyes to the importance of symbolic and cultural factors, in concord with more economic and social factors. As for sports policies, the exhibition shows us the social and cultural importance of sport and the need to understand and manage it, in all of its dimensions, as a fundamental instrument for harmonising two central factors in our society: identity and social cohesion.
As the director of the Olympic Studies Centre of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, it gives me great pleasure to express our thanks to the institutions that have given us support and to all of the team who participated in the project. Special thanks are due to Chris Kennett for his ideas and his work as a researcher and also to Kim Manresa for having wanted to share with us the exceptional and humanistic viewpoint of a photographer.
Miquel de Moragas
Director of the Olympic Studies Centre at the UAB