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MLLSM01 EVENTS POLICY LECTURE 2 Events and political capital.

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1 MLLSM01 EVENTS POLICY LECTURE 2 Events and political capital

2 Political Capital: The Outline In this lecture I argue that events and festivals help political elites accrue valuable ‘capital’ I will firstly look briefly at the historical involvement of politics within events and festivals I will consider how political arguments are made which enable an events (or culture)-led strategy to exist and flourish I will consider what political benefits accrue and how the consent of the local populace is secured I will then consider more critical perspectives on the political rationale for hosting events

3 Historical context for political involvement Historically, dominant institutions and power elites determined the desired version of nationalism and public culture created by their events (Roche, 2000) Roche argues that the successful hosting of ‘mega events’ was a way for power elites to promote ‘hegemonic’ ideologies to the masses Marxist political economy scholars use this ‘civic boosterism’ school of thought to explain the significance of hallmark events

4 The politics of bidding Increased competition for global city status now the key rationale for bidding for large scale events Sporting mega events have taken from World Fair and Expos in relation to urban, and regional growth and place competition (Hall, 2006: p60). Globalised media technologies allow ‘sport’ and wider cultural forms to communicate a city or nation’s offering to the world’s audience This reflects the currency of ‘attention’ (Goldhaber, 1997) The local political system facilitates development in place of welfare and seeks to secure the consent of the electorate

5 The political ‘benefits’ Economic impacts remain the dominant discourse used by political elites to promote events – urban/civic boosterism: Associated with city image enhancement, gentrification and cosmopolitanism Alongside the growth of ‘cultural’ quarters with their associated invented or created ‘cultural festivals’ Events ‘animate’ cities (and nations), they are the animators of static attractions (Getz, 1997)

6 The political ‘benefits’ ctnd A culture or events-led policy also involves a change in the local political landscape as private and semi-private actors (Hubbard and Hall, 1998: 8) influence events policy processes Infrastructural changes deemed politically rewarding and popular Growth strategies tied to winning events in the realms of housing, retail, public relations Politically, sports events seen as a ‘good thing’. To criticise is to be ‘doubly damned’ (Hall, 2006: p67)

7 The political investments Growth coalitions promise a series of ‘investments’ to deliver the legacies promoted ‘Event’ infrastructures Post event support Social and cultural change But, criticised for scant disregard for the powerless who are negatively affected by the status accorded to the event (Hiller, 1998)

8 Securing political consent The impact of events justified on basis of transformations to the built, cultural and social environment – mega events must be legitimised (Hiller, 2000) Strategies of consent and coercion to secure popular support (e.g. Sydney, 2000) Politicians seek to secure an emotional connection with residents, whilst political dissent minimised by failure to follow normal public consultation The use of power elites to use place marketing strategies to sell culture and politics (Hall & Hodges, 1998)

9 The political ‘benefits’ contested ‘Spatial injustices’ Macleod (2002) emerge from the rolling out of place marketing and neo-liberalism of which events are a major plank Include tight regulation, discipline and demarcation of city space to ‘enable’ publicly-funded entrepreneurship to flourish Deepening social polarities as certain excluded groups are deemed problematic to the continuation of consumerist ideologies Some (local) cultures and spaces deemed invisible Consumerist ideology further disenfranchises sections of the population Beneficiaries are promoted, victims downplayed in bidding process

10 The political ‘benefits’ contested Many events have  “been associated with large-scale public expenditure, the construction of facilities and infrastructure, and urban re-development and revitalisation strategies which may have undesirable long term consequences for public stakeholders although significant short-term gains for some corporate interests” ( Hall, 2006: p59) By-passing democratic process in the name of securing spectacle Reinforces a dominant neo-liberal urban entrepreneurial logic within which the public purse subsidises private interests – unaccountable governance? Urban entrepreneurialism, competitiveness and growth becomes the language of public life

11 The political ‘benefits’ contested The ‘revanchist city’ – a city in which greater repressive controls are put in place to ensure the free flow of global capital accumulation Critics argue events and festivals have been created to satisfy the lifestyle aspirations of the gentrified and touristified urban destination The language of regeneration “anesthetizes our critical understanding” (Smith, 2002: p446) of the social polarisation wrought by these policies Displacement effects of are stifled in the positive, pro- growth messages emerging from political leaders – propaganda messages designed to secure civic unity (Waitt, 2001)

12 Conclusions Events are political Events represent a vehicle for the promotion of neo- liberal discourses of urban entrepreneurialism Pro-growth public-private coalitions are formed which reconceptualise the relationship between the state and its citizens Outcome = unaccountable quasi-autonomous organisations which work to a market-logic, excluding certain segments of the population The bread and circuses formulae of the Romans is intensified as events are used as a means of socialising the population

13 References Law, C.M. (2002) Urban Tourism, 2 nd ed, Continuum, Chapter 7 Roche, M (2000) Mega Events, London, Routledge Hall, C. Michael (2006): “Urban Entrepreneurship, Corporate Interests, and Sports Mega-Events: The Thin Policies of Competitiveness within the Hard Outcomes of Neo- Liberalism”, The Sociological Review 54(s2), pp. 59-70. Shoval, Noam (2002): “A New Phase in the Competition for the Olympic Gold: The London and New York Bids for the 2012 Games”, Journal of Urban Affairs 24(5) pp. 583-99. Hubbard, Phil and Hall, Tim (1998): “The Entrepreneurial City and the ‘New Urban Politics’” in Hall, Tim and Hubbard, Phil (eds.): The Entrepreneurial City (New York: John Wiley & Sons) pp. 1-23. Henry, I.P & Paramio-Salcines, J.L. (1999) Sport and the Analysis of symbolic regimes: A case study of the City of Sheffield, Urban Affairs Review, 34, 641-666 MacLeod, Gordon (2002): “From Urban Entrepreneurialism to a ‘Revanchist City’? On the Spatial Injustices of Glasgow’s Renaissance”, Antipode Jamieson, Kirstie (2004): “Edinburgh: The Festival Gaze and its Boundaries”, Space and Culture 7(1) pp. 64-75. Smith, N (2002) ‘New Globalism,, New Urbanism: Gentrification as Global Urban Strategy’, Antipode, pp427-449

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