Onder Ons : Een etnografische studie naar gevestigden-buitenstaanders relaties in een sportvereniging en het ingrijpen van de overheid daarop


Government control in social relations between ethnic groups in sports clubs and society at large can be understood by viewing them from an established-outsider perspective. If we examine this at the microlevel, we see that neither the government nor the club are aware of the shifts in the balance of power in these figurations. Formalization and professionalization serve to highlight and heighten the relationships between groups of members. Sports clubs are voluntary organizations in which members get together on a voluntary basis and are committed to the members in their own group, the ‘amongst ourselves association’. Although well intentioned, the ambition to achieve an improvement of the social relations between ethnic groups within the club and by extension in the neighbourhood is highly complex, ambitious and problematic. This is because forced mixing of groups heightens the tensions in social relations. ‘Amongst ourselves associations’ are extremely important as social hubs, in which people can feel at home and fulfil their need for self-validation in a fairly uninhibited way. A physical ‘home of one’s own’ as a materialization of these clubs helps in that regard. Once these types of associations come under pressure and collapse, this has a disruptive effect on the social relations between groups. It is the case that the fear of one’s own group breaking up leads to this being attributed to other groups (Elias 2005/1990, p. 269), which goes to strengthen mutual stigmatization by groups and leads to a deterioration of social relations.The municipal intervention in the ailing football club Onder Ons, although it allowed the club to survive as a sports facility within the community and allowed the creation of an ‘amongst ourselves association’ for the former outsiders, simultaneously led to the collapse of the club of the established. The intervention of the local government on the social relations within the club and the neighbourhood in the VVOO case study could sooner be said to have had a disruptive effect, than having led to an improvement of the social relations between groups. In order to improve social relations, it would be better if the government and other institutional actors were to allow and to facilitate the coexistence of ‘amongst ourselves associations’, than to focus on the survival of organizations in which various types of these associations are forced to mix

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Last time updated on 3/31/2019

This paper was published in NARCIS .

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