Conclusion. Sports Mega-Events: Disputed Places, Systemic Contradictions and Critical Moments
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Sports mega-events are interesting to us because of the excitement they create: they capture the popular imagination, provide a platform for individual and collective feats of skill and dedication. To treat them as purely sociological or political phenomena is to miss their symbolic significance; it is also to miss the pleasures they generate. But sports mega-events are also interesting because they are peculiar, recurrent, time-space compressions where global norms and the ideological operations that sustain them are made visible and identifiable. To treat them simply as stages of technical excellence, courage, endurance and accomplishment would also be to miss their fundamental meanings. To this effect, the central line of enquiry around which this volume has been structured is the ways in which mega-events, beyond their politico-institutional processes, event management procedures and media projections, are located within and impact upon the publics that are called to support and spectate — and perhaps even participate in — these events. The evaluation of these impacts and relationships is especially important given, on the one hand, the cultural, social, political and economic significance of these events; and on the other, the seemingly ever-increasing disconnect between their top-down, elite, nature and the ostensible redistributive and participatory agendas staked out by their governance regimes. As numerous contributions to this volume have underlined, a key legitimizing discourse in the staging of these events is their claims to social transformation, through an aspirational public framework which establishes collective participation in the production of the event, and the creation of long-term ‘legacies’.
KeywordsOlympic Game Critical Moment Global City Civil Society Actor Event Staging
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