The spectacle of major cultural and sporting events can preoccupy modern societies. This book is concerned with contemporary mega-events, like the Olympics and Expos. Contemporary twenty-first-century macro-social changes are different from these first-phase modernisation processes, and thus they pose different problems of interpretation in relation to the mega-events they contextualise. The contemporary changes include the digital revolution, the global ecological crisis and qualitatively new and more complex forms of globalisation. Media related aspects of contemporary mega-events, particularly sports mega-events, in the context of the wider social impacts of the digital revolution are discussed in the first part of the book. The second part talks about urban and environmental aspects of mega-events, in a period of rapid urbanisation in many parts of the world and also of ecological crisis. It outlines how mega-events can be understood as being material as well as performative spectacles which are physically 'embedded' in cities as legacies Looking into mega-events' simultaneous record of creating new public spaces in modern cities. The second part also highlights the association of contemporary mega-events with urban impacts and legacies which are both green and space-making. The final part reflects on the contemporary global shift in mega-event locations and the wider context of this in complex globalisation and the changing geopolitical relations between the West and non-Western world regions. The focus is on main non-Western region of East Asia, and specifically on its core, the People's Republic of China.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book aims to make a contribution to contemporary interests in re-emphasising the relevance of sociological and related inter-disciplinary perspectives for the understanding of events and mega-events. It outlines a framework for interpreting contemporary macro-structural social change and applies it in general terms to media, urban and locational mega-event issues. The book explores the problems that so-called internet piracy causes for sport mega-events, states' policy responses to this and mega-event organisations' search for a new symbiosis between events and the media. It looks into mega-events' simultaneous record of creating new public spaces in modern cities, and it does so mainly with reference to the Expo event genre. The book focuses on the main non-Western region of East Asia, and specifically on its core, the People's Republic of China.
This chapter outlines a sociological framework of ideas and terms of reference for exploring the deeper and broader contexts of social change relevant to the understanding of contemporary mega-events. It outlines a general conception of the social nature and inter-relationships of various types of media, how they have changed over the course of Western modernisation and how they have provided important deep social contexts for developments in mega-events. The chapter introduces general aspects of globalisation and also of capitalism which contemporary mega-events can be said to reflect and refract, and to mark and influence. It also introduces the global shift in mega-event locations which has been evident in the early twenty-first century. Globalisation emerged from the mid-1990s as an increasingly well-recognised phenomenon, much-commented upon in social-scientific discourses as well as public discourses.
This chapter aims to make a small contribution to media studies from a sociological perspective by reflecting on some of the wider contexts and issues relating to the rationale for studies in this field. It describes the changing nature of the media and wider social contexts in which the relationship between the Olympics and media has developed. The chapter looks at the symbiotic relationship which developed and continues to endure between the Olympics and the old media, particularly television. It also describes that the changing social context involved in the growth of new media, together with the potential for the growth of positive relations between the Olympics and the new media. The chapter presents the discussion of the new media's positive possibilities, together also with its negative possibilities, for the Olympics and major sport events.
This chapter presents four main stages. The first stage is concerned with general problems in the cultural industries connected with the rise of the internet, such as criticisms of cultural parasitism and piracy. The second stage looks at governmental policies and practices, which aim to address and curb internet piracy in both the US and the UK. The third stage is concerned with problems of internet piracy in the field of media sport and the related field of major sport events like the Olympic Games and also high-profile and high-value football matches. It describes 'hard' and 'soft' approaches taken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in its efforts to address the problem. The fourth stage considers issues relating to the nature of the current co-existence between television and the internet-based media in the context of the Olympics, and the possibilities for a new symbiosis in this area.
This chapter discusses the nature of the material spectacles connected with mega-events. It begins by recognising and exploring the importance of the 'material spectacle' aspect of mega-events throughout their history over the course of the modernisation process. Mega-events like Olympics and Expos evidently involve performative spectacle of various kinds. The early Expos contributed 'physical legacies' of various kinds to the long-term development of central areas of their host cities, even if only in intermittent and unsystematic ways. The chapter provides some historical information about the relation between, on the one hand, host cities and, on the other hand, mega-events and the material spectacles often associated with them for the 1850-1970 period. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Olympic movement began to get interested in the various possible legacies of Olympic Games events, including tangible legacies for the host city, in the 1990s.
Research into the urban impacts of Olympic events, as of mega-events more generally, has long been of variable quality. Mega-events and their associated costs naturally reflect the long-term inflationary movement of prices in modern economies. This chapter begins by looking from early Olympic Games onwards on the construction of sport facilities. It looks, on the one hand the arguably negative Olympic legacy cases of the Montreal 1976 and Athens 2004 Games events, and on the other hand the widely recognised positive Olympic legacy case of the Barcelona games of 1992. The chapter looks into the mega-event projects and the equally unavoidable struggles they involve and the determination they require from their planners and organisers to promote positive event legacies in host cities and avoid the risks of negative legacies.
This chapter explores the relationship between mega-events and cities in the context of long-term social change and with particular reference to the important theme of the significance of social space for modern cities. It looks at the 'green city' awareness during the first phase of modernisation, with particular reference to the history of the creation and changing public uses of urban parks in the course of the modern development of Western cities. The chapter focuses on Expos and a general exploration of their history of operating as urban park-creating projects, and thus as both space-creating and green projects. It also focuses on a set of case studies of Expos as urban policy projects, particularly in terms of their space-creating, park-creating and green aspects. The cases are those of the European set of contemporary-era Expos, namely Seville 1992 and particularly Lisbon 1998 and Zaragoza 2008.
This chapter explores globalisation's world-regionality dynamic and its implications for mega-events. It discusses the role of mega-events such as the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and the Shanghai 2010 Expo and their legacies in China's contemporary development, both at the national level and also particularly at the urban level. China's rapid economic growth and urbanisation in the post-Deng period generated an unprecedented interest among Chinese urban leaderships in strategies of bidding for and staging mega-events. The design of the 2010 Shanghai Expo reflected a number of the macro factors and structural themes relating to contemporary China and to mega-events, as well as more local and urban issues relating to Shanghai city. The chapter also discusses the influence of mega-events on the development of London as a world city, and looks in particular at the London 2012 Olympic Games and its urban legacies.
The city of London has a long experience of staging great events, including mega-event genres, though to the contemporary period. This chapter looks briefly at some of the history of London's major events in the modern era. It focuses on the particular case of the London 2012 Olympics and its impacts and legacies. The chapter introduces the general policy and planning context and aims of the Olympic project, particularly in relation to its long-term social and sport policy goals and aspirations. It presents in more detail at the project's directly social aspects and legacies, in terms of such things as the construction of housing and of the Olympic Park. It also looks into the Olympic project's indirectly social character in terms of its economic and employment impacts and legacies, particularly in terms of the cultural and creative industries.