Nouveauté

The urban commodity futures of the Olympics = examining the multiscalar processes of the Games / Elena Trubina

Trubina, Elena

This paper seeks to establish the theoretical concept of ‘urban commodity futures’ by drawing on David Harvey’s account of the contradictions of capitalism and Wladimir Andreff’s analysis of Olympic bidding as a monopolist allocation process based on auctioning in the context of asymmetrical information. ‘Urban commodity futures’ are shown to be a process of urban change both enabled by and formative of the boosters of ‘the next big thing in the city’. The discursive performativity of visions of the urban future generated by the boosters both creates new and reproduces existing possibilities for profitable manipulation of the public sector. The boosters unite geographically disparate markets in the global auction of assets and ambitions by establishing specific connections between places through bidding competitions and by capitalizing on existing contradictions. The bidding itself becomes an auction in which urban commodity futures are traded to strengthen the links between local capital and transnational corporations. When considered in light of ‘urban commodity futures’, the case of the 2014 Winter Games offers a stimulating inversion of some narratives of the Games, whereby developing countries are presented as striving to ‘earn’ the global community’s attention.

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