In this article we discuss the extent to which sport might effectively encourage processes of integration and civic participation in Prato, one of the most multicultural cities in Italy. A discourse analysis of recent policies that aim to foster social inclusion of migrants and their children through sport in the city and in the broader region of Tuscany is conducted in the first half of the article; this is followed by the analysis of qualitative interviews and focus groups with city councillors, sport operators and educators. Framed by theories of transculturation, we argue that sport may provide great opportunities for intercultural communication and transcultural socialization – mostly in its informal manifestations and in some of the more progressive and innovative public initiatives carried out in the city. Yet we also suggest that processes of social inclusion through sport promoted at a policy level are often hindered ‘on the ground’ by assimilationist attitudes and practices.
- social inclusion