London Olympic Cultural And Urban Studies (LOCUS)

The following course outline is designed to provide some resources for  use with undergraduate students  who have a  basic  knowledge of   concepts in sociology and cultural studies. The main topics  for discussion in each session are indicated , linked to some key  readings. The student is  referred to  one or more sections of the online ‘reading map’ for further resources. Suggestions for film or image study, including the  relevant sections of the online galleries are also given. View the course outline here:  London Olympic Cultural And Urban Studies (LOCUS)

The Key Players In London 2012

A list of some of the key players in the London Summer Olympics can be found here:  Key Players

Map Readings

This select reading list contains books that I have found especially interesting, useful or thought provoking in writing this one. It is organised according to the main themes dealt with in the text in the order in which I read the books. So it comprises a personal reading history which I hope will be helpful to others. Starred items are ‘must reads’ Read the full text here: Map Readings

The Olygarch’s Guide To Legacyspeak

Legacyspeak is an extreme case of what linguists call nominalisation in which actions are turned into objects and verbal processes are turned into abstract nouns. At its simplest this involves the deletion of concrete human agency and its replacement by abstract entities which become the chief protagonists of the storyline. So instead of a transactive model of causality involving a) an actor b) a process of modal action described by a verb, located in a specific time and place, and c) a consequential effect,  we have an account dominated by purely impersonal and often literally non verb-alisable processes of agency and accountability. It is a language of action without an intentional human subject. Read the full text here:  Legacy Speak

The Twenty Twelver’s Rough Guide To Useful Post-Olympic Expressions

A guide to useful post-Olympic Expressions is compiled here:  Useful Post-Olympic Expressions.

Book Launches

My first book launch was a great success with over 80 people attending! The book launch in Wivenhoe bookshop on May 10 was also a success.  Below are some pictures of Phil interacting with interested customers. Read more about On the Wrong Side of the Track and Reading Room Only

Towards a Good Enough Legacy: the Long Term Impact of London 2012

As London 2012 draws to a close the questions of Legacy and how to measure the Games’ impact emerge as present tense issues. In this week’s Friday essay Phil Cohen challenges the starting point of these discussions: the assumption that the population who use and will come to use the space all share the same vision as the narrowly selected development committee. View the openDemocracy article here:  Towards a Good Enough Legacy

Beyond Carnival Capitalism: London 2012 and its Legacy of Hope

London 2012 provided a key insight into the shifting relationships between global, national and local as residents with no material stake in the Games came together to participate in their success. How might the power of this already-existing ‘commons’ pave the way for an alternative legacy? Read the article on the openDemocracy ezine:  Beyond Carnival Capitalism

Globalisation And Its Discontents, After 2012

There are a number of grand narratives within which the Olympics  might be evaluated, each of which inscribes the project  in a very different  value nexus. Perhaps the dominant paradigm on the Left  is that of globalisation. The Olympics, and sports in general,  are read as symptomatic of larger economic forces at work in the society, of which  globalisation is   paramount . This is not just down to fact that the Games are a  sporting equivalent of the United Nations Assembly, but that hosting them is the material sign of world city status. Their delivery presupposes a critical mass of facilities, including a networked infrastructure of transport and communications, that is integral to the global economy; a scale of procurement that only the largest companies with global resourcing and supply chains can provide and a level of national affluence sufficient to sustain such a large investment in public resource. Capitalism, [Read More…]

Where East Meets West: Gary’s Olympic Game

The transcript that follows is from an interview with Gary Carpenter then aged 18, who describes the people he met and incidents that happened while he was working with his dad as a riggers assistant. I first met the Carpenters during a health and safety induction session at the Carpenters Road site and subsequently conducted interviews with each of them separately and one with them together. I was immediately struck by the closeness of their relationship and by the fact that this father and son team represented a very ‘old fashioned’ aspect of working class culture. Gary had started working with his dad as soon as he left school, and in effect became his apprentice. They both took great pride in the job, and also from the fact that to a large extent they were their own bosses. They were taken on as a team, controlled their own work process, [Read More…]