Outsiders Within: College Sport as an Avenue to Integrate International Students
Keywords:identification, social identity, acculturation, college sport spectatorship, international students
The increasingly volatile social, cultural, and political environment in the United States has made it difficult for U.S. institutions of higher learning to retain and integrate international students, especially those from East Asian countries. Drawing upon social identity theory and the acculturation process, this study explored how college sport contributes to international students’ university identification using narrative interviews with East Asian international students who attended college football events at a U.S. university. Findings revealed that international students identified with their co-national peers for socialization purposes at football events and identified with the football spectator subgroup through the influence of domestic students, which contributed to university identity. Theoretically, our research highlighted the dynamics between sport identification, university identity, and acculturation by showing how college sport spectatorship can foster university identification but also create cultural distance within the university community. Findings also offer practical guidelines on how universities can use college sport to initiate organic social interactions between students from different cultures and empower international students to identify as essential members of universities.
Allen, J. T., Byon, K. K., & Drane, D. (2009). International students’ sport spectator behavior: Socialization and cultural expression. Journal of Contemporary Athletics, 4(4), 1-19.
Allen, J. T., Drane, D. D., Byon, K. K., & Mohn, R. S. (2010). Sport as a vehicle for socialization and maintenance of cultural identity: International students attending American universities. Sport Management Review, 13(4), 421-434.
Anderson, C., & Kirkpatrick, S. (2016). Narrative interviewing. International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 38(3), 631-634.
Armstrong, K. L. (2002). Race and Sport Consumption Motivations: A Preliminary Investigation of a Black Consumers' Sport Motivation Scale. Journal of Sport Behavior, 25(4).
Ashforth, B. E., & Mael, F. (1989). Social identity theory and the organization. Academy of Management Review, 14(1), 20-39.
Bhatia, S., & Ram, A. (2009). Theorizing identity in transnational and diaspora cultures: A critical approach to acculturation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 33(2), 140-149.
Berry, J. W. (1997). Immigration, acculturation, and adaptation. Applied Psychology, 46(1), 5-34.
Berry, J. W., Kim, U., Power, S., Young, M., & Bujaki, M. (1989). Acculturation attitudes in plural societies. Applied Psychology, 38(2), 185-206.
Brewer, M. B. (1991). The social self: On being the same and different at the same time. Personality And Social Psychology Bulletin, 17(5), 475-482.
Brewer, M. B., & Gardner, W. (1996). Who is this "We"? Levels of collective identity and self representations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71(1), 83-93.
Clopton, A. W. (2011). Social capital and college sport: In search of the bridging potential of intercollegiate athletics. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 4(2), 174-189.
Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2008). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (3rd ed.). Sage.
Dedoose. (2018). Dedoose (Version 8.0.42) [Web application]. Retrieved from https://dedoose.com
Dodwell, D. (2020). Will coronavirus pandemic transform the university sector as the Black Death did in the Middle Ages? South China Morning Post. Retrieved from https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3081596/will-coronavirus-pandemic-transform-university-sector-black-death?fbclid=IwAR2a1giQD2P0ODsr4nRGPahyKeXaVFzUR_2yuJ9nP9wk5RBhTMz65xhtR30
Dukerich, J. M., Golden, B. R., & Shortell, S. M. (2002). Beauty is in the eye of the beholder: The impact of organizational identification, identity, and image on the cooperative behaviors of physicians. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47(3), 507-533.
Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human relations, 7(2), 117-140.
Flick, U. (2013). The SAGE handbook of qualitative data analysis. Sage.
Funk, D. C., Filo, K., Beaton, A. A., & Pritchard, M. (2009). Measuring the motives of sport event attendance: Bridging the academic-practitioner divide to understanding behavior. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 18(3), 126-138.
Glass, C. R., Gómez, E., & Urzua, A. (2014). Recreation, intercultural friendship, and international students’ adaptation to college by region of origin. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 42, 104-117.
Gratton, C., & Jones, I. (2014). Research methods for sports studies. Routledge.
Ha, J. P., Hums, M. A., & Greenwell, C. T. (2014). The impact of acculturation and ethnic identity on American football identification and consumption among Asians in the United States. International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship, 15(2). 125-142.
Harrolle, M. G., & Trail, G. T. (2007). Ethnic identification, acculturation and sports identification of Latinos in the United States. International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship, 8(3).
Harrison, N., & Peacock, N. (2009). Cultural distance, mindfulness and passive xenophobia: Using integrated threat theory to explore home higher education students’ perspectives on ‘internationalisation at home’. British Educational Research Journal, 36(6), 877-902.
Hornsey, M. J., & Jetten, J. (2004). The individual within the group: Balancing the need to belong with the need to be different. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8(3), 248-264.
Hornsey, M. J. (2008). Social identity theory and self‐categorization theory: A historical review. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(1), 204-222.
Institute of International Education. (2019). Number of international students in the United States hits all-time high. Institute of International Education. Retrieved from https://www.iie.org/Why-IIE/Announcements/2019/11/Number-of-International-Students-in-the-United-States-Hits-All-Time-High
Jung, E., Hecht, M. L., & Wadsworth, B. C. (2007). The role of identity in international students’ psychological well-being in the United States: A model of depression level, identity gaps, discrimination, and acculturation. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 31(5), 605-624.
Katz, M., & Heere, B. (2016). New team, new fans: A longitudinal examination of team identification as a driver of university identification. Journal of Sport Management, 30(2), 135-148.
Kim, J., Heo, J., & Lee, C. (2016). Exploring the relationship between types of leisure activities and acculturation among Korean immigrants. Leisure Studies, 35(1), 113-127.
Kwon, H., & Trail, G. (2001). Sport fan motivation: A comparison of American students and international students. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 10(3), 147-155.
Lapchick, R. (2010). The effect of the economic downturn on college athletes and athletic departments on issues of diversity and inclusion. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 3(1), 81-95.
Lee, Y. S., & Funk, D. C. (2011). Recreational sport participation and migrants' acculturation. Managing Leisure, 16(1), 1-16.
Lee, K. J., & Scott, D. (2013). Interracial contact experience during recreational basketball and soccer: Korean American males' perspectives. Journal of Leisure Research, 45(3), 267-294.
Li, K. C., Sotiriadou, P., & Auld, C. (2015). An examination of the role of sport and leisure on the acculturation of Chinese immigrants. World Leisure Journal, 57(3), 209-220.
Lin, M. H., Kwan, V. S., Cheung, A., & Fiske, S. T. (2005). Stereotype content model explains prejudice for an envied outgroup: Scale of anti-Asian American stereotypes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31(1), 34-47.
Lock, D. J., & Funk, D. C. (2016). The multiple in-group identity framework. Sport Management Review, 19(2), 85-96.
Lock, D., & Heere, B. (2017). Identity crisis: A theoretical analysis of ‘team identification’ research. European Sport Management Quarterly, 17(4), 413-435.
Mishler, E. (2006). Narrative and identity: The double arrow of time. In A. De Fina, D. Schiffrin, & M. Bamberg (Eds.), Discourse and Identity (Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics, pp. 30-47). Cambridge University Press.
NASFA: Association of International Educators. (2020). Losing talent 2020: An economic and foreign policy risk that America can’t ignore. Retrieved from https://www.nafsa.org/sites/default/files/media/document/nafsa-losing-talent.pdf
National Foundation for American Policy. (2019). Immigrant entrepreneurs and U.S. immigration policy. Retrieved from https://nfap.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Immigrant-Entrepreneurs-and-US-Immigration-Policy.NFAP-Policy-Toolkit.2019.pdf
Overcash, J. A. (2003). Narrative research: a review of methodology and relevance to clinical practice. Critical reviews in oncology/hematology, 48(2), 179-184.
Popp, N., Love, A. W., Kim, S., & Hums, M. A. (2010). Cross-cultural adjustments and international collegiate athletes. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 3(1), 163-181.
Postmes, T., Spears, R., Lee, A. T., & Novak, R. J. (2005). Individuality and social influence in groups: Inductive and deductive routes to group identity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89(5), 747-763.
Pratt, A. N. (2013). Integrated impression management in athletics: A qualitative study of how NCAA Division I athletics directors understand public relations. International Journal of Sport Communication, 6(1), 42-65.
Quinton, W. J. (2020). So close and yet so far? Predictors of international students’ socialization with host nationals. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 74, 7-16.
Ramanathan, V. (2015). Values, behaviour and identity: Acculturation of Indian immigrant men in Australia. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 16(3), 625-638.
Riessman, C. K. (2008). Narrative methods for the human sciences. Sage.
Shenton, A. K. (2004). Strategies for ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative research projects. Education for Information, 22(2), 63-75.
Smith, R. A., & Khawaja, N. G. (2011). A review of the acculturation experiences of international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 35(6), 699-713.
Tajfel, H. (1974). Social identity and intergroup behaviour. Information (International Social Science Council), 13(2), 65-93.
Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 33–47). Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.
Tracy, S. J. (2010). Qualitative quality: Eight “big-tent” criteria for excellent qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 16(10), 837-851.
Turner, J. C., Brown, R. J., & Tajfel, H. (1979). Social comparison and group interest in ingroup favouritism. European Journal of Social Psychology, 9(2), 187-204.
Valentine, S. (2001). Self-esteem, cultural identity, and generation status as determinants of Hispanic acculturation. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 23(4), 459-468.
Wann, D. L., Brame, E., Clarkson, M., Brooks, D., & Waddill, P. J. (2008). College student attendance at sporting events and the relationship between sport team identification and social psychological health. Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, 1(2), 242-254.
Ward, C. (2001). The A, B, Cs of acculturation. In D. Matsumoto (Ed.), The handbook of culture and psychology (p. 411–445). Oxford University Press.
Ward, C., Masgoret, A. M., & Gezentsvey, M. (2009). Investigating attitudes toward international students: Program and policy implications for social integration and international education. Social Issues and Policy Review, 3(1), 79-102.
Welch, C., & Piekkari, R. (2006). Crossing language boundaries: Qualitative interviewing in international business. Management International Review, 46(4), 417-437.
Zhang, J., & Goodson, P. (2011). Predictors of international students’ psychosocial adjustment to life in the United States: A systematic review. International journal of intercultural relations, 35(2), 139-162.
Zhang, S., Chen, G., Chen, X. P., Liu, D., & Johnson, M. D. (2014). Relational versus collective identification within workgroups: Conceptualization, measurement development, and nomological network building. Journal of Management, 40(6), 1700-1731.
Zhou, Y., Zhang, H., & Stodolska, M. (2018). Acculturative stress and leisure among Chinese international graduate students. Leisure Sciences, 40(6), 557-577.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Xiaochen Zhou, Anthony Pizzo, Daniel C. Funk
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright is held by the authors.