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Mega-events and mega-profits: Unravelling the Vancouver 2010 security–development nexus

posted on 2011-01-01, 00:00 authored by Adam Molnar, L Snider
Academic and political commentators have commonly sought to understand the Olympics as a cultural dynamic, a "spectacle" that motivates certain actors to project their relative interests in localized spaces and as well on a global scale (Hiller 2006; Boyle and Haggerty 2009b ). Mega-events, as this argument goes, are monumental cultural events (Roche 2000) that rely on the audacity of spectacle to dramatize and condition the cultural, political, legal and economic landscape. Extending these insights into surveillance studies, Boyle and Haggerty (2009b: 259-260) position spectacle and the disciplinary mechanisms of anxieties associated with mega-events to explain the risk management practices of security planners. The dynamic social implications of the spectacle condition dramatic regimes of securitization and surveillance such that sovereign power emanates from the production and consumption of spectacle. In similar fashion Vida Bajc (2007: 1648) writes that security meta-rituals "demonstrate[s] that the process of transformation of [the] public space [of mega-events] from one of routine of daily life into a sterile area [that] has a ritual form [that] .... separates insiders from outsiders and brings about a new socio-political reality." Put another way, the "security-meta ritual" legitimates security and surveillance practices by normalizing the social hierarchies it imposes. Bajc focuses on the over-determination of dividing practices in mega-event security, but the signifying practices associated with capital are absent (perhaps due to her empirical focus on presidential addresses). Klauser (2008: 181) links commercialization and mechanisms of surveillance, but only by foregrounding the significance of "neutralized space" created by granting absolute commercial rights to event sponsors. Neoliberal
privatization and its articulation with security and surveillance, however, cannot be reduced to control over sponsorship rights and consumptive practices in particular urban "zones," nor can it be limited by the methodological temporality of the event itself.


Title of book

Security games

Chapter number



150 - 168


Taylor & Francis

Place of publication

London, Eng.





Publication classification

B1.1 Book chapter

Copyright notice

2011, Taylor & Francis




C Bennett, K Haggarty

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