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Re-placing Sport Migrants: Moving Beyond the Institutional Structures Informing International Sport Migration

Interest in international sport migration has been burgeoning recently. This article considers the dominant theoretical models used to explore these movements and suggests that it is time to rethink some of our theoretical presumptions. Recent permutations of these theoretical models, shifting from globalization to network theoretical models, make this reconsideration of migration-related theories necessary. Drawing on the groundbreaking work done in the 1990s and on Rafaelle Poli’s rapidly expanding body of work, it becomes apparent that a more flexible, open-ended theoretical model is necessary. This article reviews these theoretical models before making a suggestion of how international sport migration might be better framed for understanding how migration is structured and experienced in multiple locations around the world. Considering that migrants are bodies moving through space, it seems crucial to return migrants to space-based models of movement thereby advocating a theoretical model that takes into account the complexly dynamic relationships between migrants, institutions, and places.