Dual career pathways of transnational athletes

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  • Tatiana Ryba, SDU, Denmark
  • Natalia Stambulova, Halmstad University, Sweden
  • Noora Ronkainen
  • Jens Bundgaard
  • Harri Selänne, LIKES – Research Center for Sport and Health Sciences, Jyväskylä, Finland, Finland
Transnationalism, as part of the globalization processes, has transformed the lifestyle and the course of athletes' careers. This presents previously unexplored challenges encountered by student-athletes in combining athletic and academic pursuits. In this article, we propose a conceptual framework for the taxonomy of transnational dual careers (DC).

Design and method
Narrative inquiry from the life story perspective was used to elicit and analyze career narratives of six transnational athletes (3 male and 3 female), generating about five interview hours per athlete. The developmental transition from secondary to higher education was chosen as a key transition to classify the DC pathways. Additional insights into DC mobilization across international borders were gleaned by employing the typologies of sport migrants developed in the sport labor migration research.

Three patterns of transnational DC were discerned from the narratives based on the direction of geographic mobility and the core migration motive underpinning the storyline. Within the present dataset, the taxonomies are: (1) Within EU mobility: the sport exile DC pathway; (2) Mobility to the U.S.A.: the sport mercenary DC pathway; and (3) Mobility to the U.S.A.: the nomadic cosmopolitan DC pathway.

The identified transnational DC paths are not exhaustive, and highlight possibilities of individual development, unfolding through the matrices of social structures in a given location. Further research with a diverse set of transnational athletes is needed to test and expand the proposed taxonomy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015

    Research areas

  • student-athletes, career development, migration, cultural transition, dual career support, lifestyle

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