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How Did it Happen? The 'Demonstrations Cup' and the Counter-hegemonic Side of Sports Mega-events

  • K6.63, Strand Campus Strand London United Kingdom (map)

Erick Omena de Melo is a PhD candidate in Urban Planning at Oxford Brookes University. His research interests focus on the interface of social movements, urban governance and mega-events. He has a Masters in Urban and Regional Planning from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, where he also worked as a member of the coordination team of the project “Metropolization and Mega-events”. Erick has also collaborated with social movements such as the People’s Committee for the World Cup and the Olympics in Brazil.

Presentation Abstract

Some studies point out that sports mega-events are often used to legitimate neoliberal urban reconfigurations, which are represented by the practices of urban entrepreneurialism (Harvey, 1989) and tend to be particularly beneficial to some elite coalitions (Andranovich, Nurbank and Heying, 2001; Greene, 2003; Short, 2008). Usually the ideological appeal of these events is of essence to build consensus around controversial mega-projects, especially through the dissemination of images and discourses that aim to symbolically erase their intrinsic contradictions (McPherson, Curtis e Loy, 1989; Chalkey e Essex, 1999; Peck e Tickel, 2002; Hall, 2006). In many ways, this has been confirmed by some analyses on the latest Olympic Games (Broudehoux, 2011; Hayes e Horne, 2011) and FIFA World Cup (Volker Eick, 2010; Bolsmann, 2012).

Nevertheless, major uprisings in the run-up for both events in Brazil seem to indicate that they do not follow such a trend, since the development projects associated with them have been contested in an unprecedented scale. This became particularly clear in June 2013, when hundreds of millions people took the streets of 350 Brazilian cities to manifest their discontentment about the implementation of World Cup projects and other urban issues (Singer, 2014). In this sense, the present paper addresses the decisive role of structural elements in the Brazilian context that eventually contributed for the erosion of the hegemony of sports mega-events, highlighting the significance of the specific ways in which the contradictions of capitalist development, and particularly the staging of sports mega-events, happen on the ground.

Working paper:

Omena de Melo, E. (2015). Não foi só por 20 centavos: a “copa das manifestações” e as transformações socioeconômicas recentes nas metrópoles brasileiras” In Brasil: os impactos da Copa do Mundo 2014 e Olimpíadas 2016, p. 203-218

This talk will be followed by a Q&A and wine.

Later Event: October 2
Tatiana Salem Levy Book Launch