Nouveauté

Olympic commodification and civic spaces at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games : a political topology of contestation / Michael Heine

Heine, Michael

Before the start of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the city of Vancouver temporarily sought to impose several by-laws restricting the scope of political messages permissible on signage in the civic space, to those complimentary of the Olympics. Similarly, the Provincial government temporarily augmented its own and the city’s administrative authority to delegitimize political expression at variance with the official positive Olympic discourse. The IOC, for its part, employed discursive and contractual strategies to effect a similar predetermination of permissible expression in the context of the 2010 Olympics, formally expressed through its ‘clean venue’ guidelines and related contractual arrangements. The IOC made the contractually binding acceptance of such guidelines by relevant Canadian government authorities a prerequisite for Vancouver’s successful hosting bid. Such incidents exemplify the contestations over the forms of legitimate expression in the host city’s civic space during the Olympic Games. This paper examines the structure and the discursive effects of these contestations evident during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

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