Watching the Olympics
Politics, Power and Representation
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Global sporting events involve the creation, management and mediation of cultural meanings for consumption by massive media audiences. The apotheosis of this cultural form is the Olympic Games. This challenging and provocative new book explores the Olympic spectacle, from the multi-media bidding process and the branding and imaging of the Games, to security, surveillance and control of the Olympic product across all of its levels.
The book argues that the process of commercialization, directed by the IOC itself, has enabled audiences to interpret its traditional objects in non-reverential ways and to develop oppositional interpretations of Olympism. The Olympics have become multi-voiced and many themed, and the spectacle of the contemporary Games raises important questions about institutionalization, the doctrine of individualism, the advance of market capitalism, performance, consumption and the consolidation of global society.
With particular focus on the London Games in 2012, the book casts a critical eye over the bidding process, Olympic finance, promises of legacy and development, and the consequences of hosting the Games for the civil rights and liberties of those living in their shadow. Few studies have offered such close scrutiny of the inner workings of Olympism’s political and economic network, and, therefore, this book is indispensible reading for any student or researcher with an interest in the Olympics, sport's multiple impacts, or sporting mega-events.
- Taylor and Francis, April 2012
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