So far, academic contributions have widely framed football in Africa as a means for migration from a western point of view. At a time, they presented particular and one-dimensional understandings of transnational links in the realm of football migration between Africa and Europe. Macro-level perspectives which mostly focus on African exploitation and dependency and more recently those that take the players’ agency into account reproduce a Eurocentric view of the phenomenon, while disregarding its local perceptions in African settings. Thus, despite the recent shift from a macro- to a micro-level perspective there is still an analytical gap between the ambitions and experiences of migrating players and economic power relations at play on the one hand and the socio-cultural embedding of the transnational connections in football migration on the other. In order to understand why and how football mobilities are indeed linked to ‘the transnational’ in migration there is a need to localize the phenomenon and investigate how local understandings of migration and mobility are lived and expressed in a transnational sport like football. By taking data from fieldwork among West African football migrants, the paper thus shows the local embedding of transnational football migration practices in the West African context.

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The International Journal of the History of Sport
Department of History

Ungruhe, C. (2016). Mobilities at play: the local embedding of transnational connections in West African football migration. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 33(15), 1767–1785. Retrieved from