Watching the Olympics
Politics, Power and Representation
Edited by John Sugden, Alan Tomlinson
Routledge – 2011 – 258 pages
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.
1 Lording It: London And The Getting Of The Games - Alan Tomlinson - 2 Pierre De Coubertin And The Modern Olympic Ideals: Myth, Evolution, Or Betrayal? - Lincoln Allison 3 The Promise Of Olympism - Graham Mcfee 4 The Olympics As Sovereign Subject Maker - Thomas F. Carter 5 The Technicolor Olympics? Race, Representation And The 2012 London Games - Daniel Burdsey 6 Youth Sport And London’s 2012 Olympic Legacy - Marc Keech 7 Doping And The Olympics: Rights, Responsibilities And Accountabilities (Watching The Athletes) - Barrie Houlihan 8 The Olympic Documentary And The ‘Spirit Of Olympism’ - Ian Mcdonald 9 Torchlight Temptations: Hosting The Olympics And The Global Gaze - David Rowe And Jim Mckay 10 Taste, Ambiguity And The Cultural Olympiad - Shane Collins And Catherine Palmer 11 Sex Watch: Surveying Women’s Sexed And Gendered Bodies At The Olympics - Jayne Caudwell - 12 Children Of A Lesser God: Paralympics And High-Performance Sport - P. David Howe 13 The Olympic Movement, Action Sports, And The Search For Generation Y - Holly Thorpe And Belinda Wheaton 14 Team Gb, The Bards Of Britishness And A Disunited Kingdom - Mark Perryman 15 The View From The Pressbox: Rose-Tinted Spectacle? - Rob Steen 16 Watched By The Games: Surveillance And Security At The Olympics - John Sugden 17 Afterword. ‘No Other Anything …’: The Olympic Games Yesterday And Today - John Sugden And Alan Tomlinson
John Sugden is Professor of the Sociology of Sport at the University of Brighton, UK, and has researched and written widely around topics concerned with the politics and sociology of sport. He is Academic Leader of the Sport and Leisure Cultures subject group and Director of Football for Peace, based in Israel.
Alan Tomlinson is Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of Brighton, UK. He is Deputy Chair of the University Research Degrees Committee and Head of Research in the Chelsea School, teaching predominantly in the social history of sport, the sociology of leisure and cultural studies.