Race, multiculturalism and the 'progressive' politics of London 2012: passing the 'Boyle test'

Aaron Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper will examine the ways in which race, multiculturalism and nation have been constructed, used and evoked in the London 2012 Olympics bid, branding and promotion. The paper will focus on the two-pronged strategy promoting modern, diverse, multicultural Britain and the more conservative traditional, historic Britain, and the tensions and contradictions between these. These are tensions and contradictions which have been exposed and exacerbated by 7/7, recession and riots, as well as the shift in government from New Labour to the Tory-led coalition. The paper will examine the ways in which race and nation have played a role historically and politically in the Olympics, and then examine the place and use of race in three aspects of the 2012 Games: the bid and branding, the opening ceremony and the representation of the athletes themselves. The paper will argue that far from being progressive and inclusive as has been promoted and claimed, what has occurred around London 2012 has been a conservative hegemonic re-articulation of a 'Britishness' that is 'progressive' and includes immigrants and black and minority ethnic individuals based on a logic of integration and performance that does not threaten, criticise or make demands of more traditional visions of Britishness. Moreover, athletes such as Mo Farah have been positioned in such a way as to challenge racism and xenophobia and re-brand Britain as inclusive in narrow terms and at the same time serve as aspirational individual role models through which to set expectations for and make demands of immigrant, black and minority ethnic youth and wider communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalSociological Research Online
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2013

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multicultural society
athlete
national minority
politics
immigrant
xenophobia
New Labour
role model
recession
racism
coalition
promotion
community
performance

Cite this

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abstract = "This paper will examine the ways in which race, multiculturalism and nation have been constructed, used and evoked in the London 2012 Olympics bid, branding and promotion. The paper will focus on the two-pronged strategy promoting modern, diverse, multicultural Britain and the more conservative traditional, historic Britain, and the tensions and contradictions between these. These are tensions and contradictions which have been exposed and exacerbated by 7/7, recession and riots, as well as the shift in government from New Labour to the Tory-led coalition. The paper will examine the ways in which race and nation have played a role historically and politically in the Olympics, and then examine the place and use of race in three aspects of the 2012 Games: the bid and branding, the opening ceremony and the representation of the athletes themselves. The paper will argue that far from being progressive and inclusive as has been promoted and claimed, what has occurred around London 2012 has been a conservative hegemonic re-articulation of a 'Britishness' that is 'progressive' and includes immigrants and black and minority ethnic individuals based on a logic of integration and performance that does not threaten, criticise or make demands of more traditional visions of Britishness. Moreover, athletes such as Mo Farah have been positioned in such a way as to challenge racism and xenophobia and re-brand Britain as inclusive in narrow terms and at the same time serve as aspirational individual role models through which to set expectations for and make demands of immigrant, black and minority ethnic youth and wider communities.",
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Race, multiculturalism and the 'progressive' politics of London 2012 : passing the 'Boyle test'. / Winter, Aaron.

In: Sociological Research Online, Vol. 18, No. 2, 31.05.2013, p. 1-7.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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