Activism and the Olympics, Activism and the Olympics, 0813562015, 0-8135-6201-5, 978-0-8135-6201-8, 9780813562018, , , Activism and the Olympics, 0813562023, 0-8135-6202-3, 978-0-8135-6202-5, 9780813562025, , , Activism and the Olympics, 0813562031, 0-8135-6203-1, 978-0-8135-6203-2, 9780813562032, , , Activism and the Olympics, 0813572681, 0-8135-7268-1, 978-0-8135-7268-0, 9780813572680,
Activism and the Olympics

Dissent at the Games in Vancouver and London
Jules Boykoff (Author)
208 pages, 10 photographs, 4 figures, 2 tables, 6 x 9
Paper, July 2014 $26.95   ADD TO CART
Cloth, July 2014 $85.00   ADD TO CART
epub, July 2014 $26.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
Series: Critical Issues in Sport and Society
Subject Area:
Sociology, Political Science, Sports and Recreation, Current Affairs


The Olympics have developed into the world's premier sporting event. They are simultaneously a competitive exhibition and a grand display of cooperation that bring together global cultures on ski slopes, shooting ranges, swimming pools, and track ovals. Given their scale in the modern era, the Games are a useful window for better comprehending larger cultural, social, and historical processes, argues Jules Boykoff, an academic social scientist and a former Olympic athlete.

In Activism and the Olympics, Boykoff provides a critical overview of the Olympic industry and its political opponents in the modern era. After presenting a brief history of Olympic activism, he turns his attention to on-the-ground activism through the lens of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  Here we see how anti-Olympic activists deploy a range of approaches to challenge the Olympic machine, from direct action and the seizure of public space to humor-based and online tactics.  Drawing on primary evidence from myriad personal interviews with activists, journalists, civil libertarians, and Olympics organizers, Boykoff angles in on the Games from numerous vantages and viewpoints.

Although modern Olympic authorities have strived—even through the Cold War era—to appear apolitical, Boykoff notes, the Games have always been the site of hotly contested political actions and competing interests. During the last thirty years, as the Olympics became an economic juggernaut, they also generated numerous reactions from groups that have sought to challenge the event’s triumphalism and pageantry. The 21st century has seen an increased level of activism across the world, from the Occupy Movement in the United States to the Arab Spring in the Middle East. What does this spike in dissent mean for Olympic activists as they prepare for future Games?


"Well-written and at times even lyrical, Activism and the Olympics provides a provocative contribution to ongoing discussions regarding the role of sport in society. Utilizing media analyses in concert with ethnographic field research, Boykoff takes us inside the world of Olympic activists and illustrates the intertwined nature of sport and politics on the global stage."
—Michael D. Giardina, author of Sport, Spectacle, and NASCAR Nation

"Drawing on 70 interviews and analysis and observation of selected cases, Boykoff explores in unprecedentedly illuminating fashion the spaces of dissent within Olympic events. Interdisciplinary, critical, investigative, he shows how protest and fearless speech ('parrhesia') question Olympic myth and ideology."
—Alan Tomlinson, University of Brighton

"An important contribution to the ongoing discussion around the role of the Olympics and its political, social, and economic implications. This book is a useful read for anyone interested in learning about the under-exposed views of the activists protesting the Olympic Games, as well as for those who seek a more comprehensive grasp fo the socio-political issues related to mega-sporting events."
—International Review for the Sociology of Sport

Author / Editor Bio

 JULES BOYKOFF is an associate professor in the department of politics and government at Pacific University and the author of Celebration Capitalism and the Olympic Games. 

Author Link(s):

Table Of Contents

List of Illustrations and Tables
Introduction: The Olympics and Me
1 Understanding the Olympic Games
2 Space Matters: The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics
3 London Calling: Activism and the 2012 Summer Olympics
4 Media and the Olympics
5 Looking Ahead through the Rearview Mirror


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Social History of Economic Decline
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Checklist for Change
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Amigas y Amantes
Katie L. Acosta