Governing the Games: high politics, risk and mega-events

Jennings, Will (2013) Governing the Games: high politics, risk and mega-events. Political Studies Review, 11, (1), 2-14. (doi:10.1111/1478-9302.12002).


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Prima facie, spectacular public events and large-scale capital projects are an ideal vehicle for ‘high politics’ and the predilection of policy-making elites for grand, iconic and schematic visions that offer high-profile policy successes and historic legacies. Yet the prospective political rewards from such mega-events and projects must be offset against high levels of risk and complexity. Further, such schemes tend to be at odds with the prevailing doctrines and practices of the modern state: in particular its deference to market-based mechanisms and its liking for instruments of calculation and control. Indeed, mega-projects and events often prove uneconomic despite the predictions of forecasters. This review essay considers how the bidding and planning process for the London 2012 Olympic Games demonstrates this tension between high politics, risk and the preferred methods of governing the modern state.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1111/1478-9302.12002
ISSNs: 1478-9299 (print)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Social Sciences > Politics & International Relations
ePrint ID: 343614
Date :
Date Event
10 January 2013Published
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2012 11:13
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 14:35
Going for Gold: The Olympics, Risk and Risk Management
Funded by: ESRC (RES-063-27-0205)
Led by: William Jennings
1 October 2008 to 30 September 2010

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