Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2803

Article | Open Access

“How Do We Put Him in the System?”: Client Construction at a Sport-Based Migrant Settlement Service in Melbourne, Australia

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Abstract:  The empirical focus of this article is a sport-based settlement service targeting newly arrived migrants in Melbourne, Australia. This five-month study examines staff members’ everyday work routines with a focus on their participation in meetings and the production of documents. Embedded in the Australian immigration policy context, this article shows how staff members aim to empower clients while simultaneously falling back into stigmatising refugee/client identification through administrative practices. The results indicate that staffs’ everyday client constructions reinforce the othering and categorisation of ethnic minorities and support a reductionist deficit model of presenting clients. This may limit the opportunities for migrants to identify with and participate in wider Australian society and thus has the opposite effect of what governments and the sector aim to accomplish.

Keywords:  Australia; client construction; migrant settlement; policy design; sport-for-development


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© Jora Broerse. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.