Published on April 17, 2008
KNES 487 : KNES 487 The Emergence of the Mega Spectacles Period Three: The Emergence of Mega-Spectacles: Period Three: The Emergence of Mega-Spectacles Los Angeles, 1932 1403 athletes, 37 nations Berlin, 1936 4066 athletes, 49 nations Historical Dimensions of the Olympic Games: Historical Dimensions of the Olympic Games Administration Political Context/Controversies Amateurism and Ideology of Athletics Sport Program and Athletes Cultural Context of the Games Olympic Movement Public Discourse Thesis:: Thesis: The emergence of Olympic Games mega-spectacles in the 1930s marks the first serious transgression of the events from its ideology. The Olympic Games as Cultural Performance: The Olympic Games as Cultural Performance Cultural Performance Theory Rationale for this theoretical perspective Provides theoretical structure to analyze the games The knowledge of the structure promotes a comparison between “what is expected” and “what is produced” The structure promotes a comparison between “ideology” and “practice” Ideology: Ideology Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. Olympism: A subset of Universal Humanism: Olympism: A subset of Universal Humanism Personality is developed through education (mind, body and soul) A properly developed personality leads to a recognition of potential freedom A society of autonomous (free) humans leads to a strong nation state identity Strong national identity leads to tolerance, support and empathy of foreigners Support and empathy of foreign nationalisms leads to a “better and peaceful world.” The Practice:Cultural Performances: The Practice: Cultural Performances Form and purpose (function) cannot be disassociated from one another if the games are to be understood as a socio-cultural processes (MacAloon, 1986) Form and purpose (function) is categorized by “genre” “Genres” are not mutually exclusive Olympic Games are cultural performance: Olympic Games are cultural performance Cultural performances … “the stories a people tell about themselves” (Geertz) Meta-Genres (big performances that enclosed other genres of cultural performance) Spectacle Festival Spectacle Meta-Genre: Spectacle Meta-Genre Characteristics/Criteria Primacy to the visual and symbolic Grandeur in mass, proportion, colour and other dramatic qualities Institutionalized bicameral perspective of actors and audience (normative roles) Dynamic form; movement action, change and exchange on the part of the actor’s at centre stage Festival Meta-Genre: Festival Meta-Genre Characteristics Joyous, a time of celebration, distinct program of public participation Spectacles do not prescribe mood Enclosed and self-contained program Spectacles are more spontaneous and susceptible to external influences Intellectual and moral obligation Spectacles do not prescribe these obligations Olympic Festivals and Spectacles: Olympic Festivals and Spectacles A historical dialogue between meta-genres… Officially, festival dominated spectacles Historically, spectacles dominated festival The Olympic Games are a festival of what? Sources: Olympic Charter (current) “Why I revived the Olympic Games” Coubertin, 1908 Olympic Games as meta-performances: Olympic Games as meta-performances What is contained/enclosed within the spectacle or festival of Olympic Games Rituals Games Olympism and Olympic Ritual: Olympism and Olympic Ritual Ritual Invokes and involves religious or sacred forces that are at the locus of a people’s concern Effects social and/or spiritual transitions and transformations Successful Rituals… Place individuals into direct, relatively unmediated contact with the ground structure Ground structure = transcendental ground Successful Olympic Rituals place the participants into direct, relatively unmediated contact with the ground structure of human kind-ness Human kind-ness = shared humanity Olympism and Olympic Ritual: Olympism and Olympic Ritual Rites of Separation from Ordinary Life, Initiating Public Liminality Lighting the flame at Olympia, Opening Ceremonies Juxtapositions: national, international, transnational, Olympic, “human community” Rites of Final Separation from Ordinary Life, Movement into Public Liminality Symbols of the Olympic Movement positioned hierarchically over and above the symbols of everyday life Olympism and Olympic Ritual: Olympism and Olympic Ritual Rites of Intensification Games Rites of Initiation Games and Victory Ceremonies for athletes Rites of Closure Re-aggregation of normative order Olympism and Games: Olympism and Games Formal structures Fixed and public rules Affective and Experiential Poles of play Fun and lighthearted and utterly serious Motivational and Functional To play for the games, you must be free Existential potential Symbolic and Communicative Systems Universal Language Democratic and Hierarchical Paradox Why has spectacle dominated the Olympic Games?: Why has spectacle dominated the Olympic Games? There may be media festivals, but a festival by media is a doubtful proposition. Festival means being there; there is no festival at a distance.