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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.

The Olympics and Its Discontents

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

Jules Boykoff and Thomas F. Carter identify the various dynamics host cities experience in preparation for and during the Olympic Games in their Anthropology News article The Olympics and Its Discontents. From economics and security to commercialization and relinquishment of sovereignty, complying with the needs and desires of the International Olympic Committee isn’t an easy task. Here is an excerpt:

Photo courtesy Playfair 2012

The Olympics bring together top athletes from around the world to compete on a global stage under the warm glow of the international media spotlight. Boosters not only hail the Games as the apex of sporting prowess, but also as a vehicle for urban regeneration, economic development, and international goodwill. Yet historically the evidence for such claims is circumstantial at best. Throughout the history of the Games, critics continuously question the logic of the Olympic movement, with all its attendant promises and spectacular practices. Activists regularly challenge the economics of Olympic funding and how that ties to security issues, the increasingly hyper-commercialized nature of the Games, and the role of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as a sovereign power. The London 2012 Olympics provide a useful lens for understanding these dynamics.

Read the entire article on Anthropology News.

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

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