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The Spectacle of Security in Olympic Rio de Janeiro

As athletes strive for the Olympic Gold this summer in London, Anthropology News takes an anthropological look into the Games.

Erika Robb Larkins looks to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the spectacle that such mega-sports events bring to the city in her article The Spectacle of Security in Olympic Rio de Janeiro. Larkins particularly looks at the security aspect of these upcoming games, not of the games themselves but the state preparation of clearing the city, and particularly the favelas, of crime. Here is an excerpt:

Photo courtesy Levi Ricardo

John MacAloon (2006), discussing the relevance of the spectacle for an ethnographic analysis of the Olympics, argues for a more grounded, in-situ analysis. For MacAloon, if the spectacle works to mask a larger process of commodity production, the ethnography of the spectacle is necessarily a labor of defetishization, an examination of the way that locally situated social actors both reproduce and resist the spectacle. In light of this useful injunction, in this short piece, I trace the multilayered construction of Olympic Rio de Janeiro through an emphasis on the spectacle of security. More specifically, the city’s favelas (or slums) are a privileged stage for violence, profiteering, and the performance of state power in the lead up to the Games.

Read the entire article on Anthropology News.

Read more Olympic articles in the new online summer edition of Anthropology News.

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