Unravelling legacy : a triadic actor-network theory approach to understanding the outcomes of mega events / Jordan Dawson and Heike Jöns

Dawson, Jordan | Jöns, Heike

Mega events have recently attracted the attention of social scientists due to their important role for festival capitalism, urban regeneration and political propaganda. Their planning stage often produces elaborate strategies for maximising the benefits before, during and after the actual event, which has given rise to interdisciplinary studies of event legacy and leveraging. This paper aims to advance ongoing debates on the outcomes of sports mega events by bringing together the literatures on mega event legacy, leveraging and actor-network theory. Drawing on a case study on the usage of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the main legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the paper develops a novel conceptual framework for researching the multi-scalar outcomes of mega events and locating respective studies within the resulting wider research agenda. The proposed concept extends Preuss' (2007) legacy cube in two ways by visualising its five research dimensions in what we call the ‘legacy rings’ and by using three rather than two sub-dimensions per ring, thereby replacing the often restrictive dyads of dualistic thinking through more comprehensive but still understandable triads of triadic thought (Jöns, 2006, 2018).

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