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Playing for identity: cricket, social positioning and shared learning in Italian public parks

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This study focuses on the ways in which a cultural practice such as playing cricket in public might contribute to structuring the identity of young immigrants in Italy, and on the role that the practice of cricket in Italian public parks might play in intercultural educational projects which aim to foster cross-cultural interactions in non-formal educational contexts. The paper will begin with an outline of the theoretical framework that underpins the study, which is principally based on the notion of ‘positional identity’ proposed by Stuart Hall and on the notions of ‘stigma’ and ‘stigmatization’ proposed by Erving Goffman and Abdelmalek Sayad. This will be followed by a brief description of the way in which playing cricket in public parks can be seen as a practice to gain positions and to reassert identity. The paper will continue with an analysis of the modes of self-representation adopted by young migrant players in their choice of team name. The paper will finally discuss some of the educational implications of playing cricket in public parks, drawing on the example of a mobilization in defence of a public park where native and Bengali children generally play football and cricket. As a conclusion, the paper emphasizes the importance of starting from shared problems in order to promote a sense of situational co-belonging between migrants and Italians as a basis for enhanced intercultural interaction.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Education, Human Sciences,University of Udine, Italy

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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