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The London 2012 Olympics: The cultural politics of urban regeneration

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Located within the broader urban shifts and transitions under the auspices of neo-liberal political and economic rationalities, this article holds together the mutual constitution of people/place through the London 2012 Olympic Games. Through addressing the regeneration of select pockets of the Olympic boroughs and the discursive constitution of belonging through the opening ceremony, I raise questions about who belongs, who is welcome or (dis-)connected and who constitutes the ‘active’ and ‘responsible’ (and thereby abject and ‘other’) neo-liberal citizenry within ‘productive’ places. With ‘useful’, ‘productive’ and acquiescent minorities reconstructed as citizens and moral subjects of responsible communities, conclusions centre on the tensions over civil liberties and the anticipation of risk within a multi-ethnic London and the on-going processes through which urban populations, urban spaces and citizens become bifurcated in ‘scary cities’.
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Keywords: London 2012 Olympics; be(long)ing; civil liberties; gentrification; governance; legacy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Bath

Publication date: 01 June 2014

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  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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