I would like to thank Michael Curry, Adam Moore, Wang Chaohua, John Agnew, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. I would also like to thank Wang Jida, Kebonye Dintwe, and Matt Zebrowski for their help creating various versions of the map that appears in this article, and Mostafa Salameh for permission in using his photograph.
Mega-Events and Nationalism: The 2008 Olympic Torch Relay†
Version of Record online: 21 MAY 2014
Copyright © 2014 by the American Geographical Society of New York
Volume 104, Issue 2, pages 192–208, April 2014
How to Cite
Grant, A. (2014), Mega-Events and Nationalism: The 2008 Olympic Torch Relay. Geographical Review, 104: 192–208. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2014.12017.x
- Issue online: 21 MAY 2014
- Version of Record online: 21 MAY 2014
This paper focuses on the relationship between the 2008 Beijing Olympic Torch Relay mega-event and contemporary imaginings of China's geopolitical position and the Chinese national geo-body. The performance of China's territorial presence at the international and domestic scales drew both support and resistance. Chinese media coverage of the spectacle reiterated tropes of geopolitical struggle and national unity. While these tropes resonated with some Chinese audiences who have been primed to recognize the Chinese geo-body through banal nationalism, Chinese citizens' satirical online comments reveal that some rejected the stilted ideological representations of the relay. Further, protesting groups' high-profile disruptions of the relay mega-event outside of the national territory of the host country worked to undermine the relay's international reception. Drawing from analyses of Chinese and international media sources and Chinese Internet satire, this article suggests that the scripted nature and geographical extent of mega-events compromises the geopolitical and nation-building aspects of such events in both neoliberal and postsocialist contexts.