Statement of Capabilities
My research focuses on four topics: sport in consumer culture; the development of sport and leisure, including media and communications, in East Asian societies; the socio-cultural, political and economic significance of major international sports mega-events; and social and cultural diversity in sport and leisure. Underpinning this work are concerns with globalization, commodification and inequality. For over a decade my research into these topics has been conducted in association with academics in East Asia, Europe, North America, Australasia and South Africa across a variety of disciplines. I would like the opportunity afforded by the Australian Olympic Research Fellowship to broaden the network of colleagues with whom I can explore possibilities for international, transdisciplinary, research into these topics. The proposed program of activities draws upon insights derived from ongoing investigations into the social significance of sports mega-events and my extensive experience of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in both sociology and sport-related academic units.
Selected Publications since 2002
1. Sports Mega-Events: Social Scientific Analyses of a Global Phenomenon (edited with W. Manzenreiter) Sociological Review Monograph Series, Oxford: Blackwell 2006;
2. Sport in Consumer Culture, Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006;
3. Japan, Korea and the 2002 World Cup (edited with W. Manzenreiter) London: Routledge 2002;
4. ‘The “Four Knowns” of Sports Mega-Events’, Leisure Studies, Volume 26 (forthcoming 2007);
5. ‘The global game of football, the 2002 World Cup and regional development in Japan’, Third World Quarterly, 2004, Volume 25, pp. 1233-1244;
6. ‘Accounting for mega-events: forecast and actual impacts of the 2002 Football World Cup Finals on the host countries Japan and Korea’ (with W. Manzenreiter), in International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 2004, Volume 39, pp. 187-203.
Proposed Program of Activities
My proposed activities during the period of the fellowship include: research in the Olympic Studies Room and Archives at the Australian Centre for Olympic Studies to support projects identified below; the exploration of mutual interests with ACOS colleagues with a view to developing collaborative research projects; and the presentation of related lectures and/or seminars for staff, students and other visitors to the Centre.
The three projects that underpin my interest in the fellowship are as follows:
1. The Human Legacies of Sports Mega-Events and Major Sports Events (SME/MSE).
There is an increasing interest in the legacies of SME/ MSE but the main focus has been upon their material legacies rather than the legacies in terms of human resources. Much critical discussion and debate about the opportunity benefits and costs of hosting these events has focussed on material legacies. This project focuses attention upon the human legacies, specifically the contribution of the Olympic Games to the formation and distribution of social and cultural capital. The research will seek to identify some of the key claims made for the role of SME/MSE in developing social and cultural capital, and provide a preliminary assessment of these claims in terms of the main actors involved – including athletes, spectators, and volunteers.
2. Olympic Boosters and Olympic Sceptics: assessing debates before, during and after the Games.
The principal objective of a second research project that will be explored compares the social, economic and political relationships and discourses that shape debates in Olympic host cities and host cities for other sports mega-events. Attention will focus on the arguments of campaigns in support of hosting and those against the mega-event before, during and after the mega-event has finished. Key questions to be addressed by this research project include: the methods used by the two camps to support their positions; how these discourses and relationships compare with those surrounding other urban mega-projects; and the relationship between the Olympic Games and other SMS and democratic forms of governance.
3. The Olympic Games and the Shaping of Urban Modernity.
The main objective of the third research project that will be explored whilst in receipt of the fellowship is the impact of the Olympic Games on the shape of the urban infrastructure. Attention will focus on the architectural legacies underpinning them, and provide a critical assessment of the involvement of international planners and architects in the production of sports spaces and stadia. A key question to be addressed by this research project is about infrastructural impacts after the mega-event has finished.