Integration Through Athletics: A Study of Somali Refugees in Lewiston, Maine

Strabley, Molly [Browse]
Senior thesis


Wuthnow, Robert J. [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Sociology [Browse]
Class year
Summary note
The focus on refugees and immigrants has dramatically increased and political change has taken place in the United States. This thesis investigates the cultural and religious barriers that Muslim Somali refugees face in the integration and assimilation process into American Society. Due to the enormity of the task of looking at the entire country, this thesis focuses on one micro-community. Lewiston, Maine, a predominantly white town provided Somali refugees with a relatively low cost opportunity for resettlement. Starting in the early 2000s, there was a large population of Somali refugees settling in Lewiston. The main focus of this thesis is to look at how sports act as a vehicle for integration and how the experience differs for boys and girls due to various religious and cultural beliefs and boundaries. The data consists of nineteen in-depth interviews from various people from the community as well as the broader Muslim population in the United States. I draw various conclusions related to hypotheses presented in the thesis. The main finding is that there is in fact a discrepancy between participation based on gender in the Somali population in Lewiston, Maine and it leads to different integration experiences for the boys and girls. This is due to a number of religious and cultural factor.

Supplementary Information