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Mediating Cosmopolitanism: Crafting an Allegorical Imperative through Beijing 2008

Tzanelli, R (2010) Mediating Cosmopolitanism: Crafting an Allegorical Imperative through Beijing 2008. International Review of Sociology, 20 (2). 215 - 241 . ISSN 0390-6701


The article examines intertwined cosmopolitan and national narratives in the context of the Beijing 2008 Games. Through a discursive analysis of the opening and closing ceremonies it seeks to provide some insight into understandings of Chinese national identity as a ‘displaced’ agent in the ‘birth’ and ‘evolution’ of Western European civilisation, who returns to claim a central place in human history. The artistic production of such resentful discourses develops alongside its technological counterpart, providing insight into the ways national citizenships remain gendered and racialised. For activist networks and the critics of the Olympic project this ‘mediated’ cosmopolitanism harbours a performative contradiction, as it sanctions Chinese policies that erase certain social identities from the nation-state. The multicultural ambiance of the Olympic mega-event symbolically resolves the crisis generated by the calls for national development through careful urban planning that violates human rights. An interdisciplinary analysis of the two ceremonies and secondary material suggests that national self-narration takes place simultaneously in different expressive/visual modes, enabling the coexistence (and communication) of the ‘symbolic’ with the ‘material’ in what I will term an ‘allegorical imperative’. This imperative, a miniature of the Olympic discourse on human dignity, is constitutive of the anthropopoetic project.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: nationalism, cosmopolitanism, urban planning, olympic games, allegorical imperative
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2011 12:08
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 03:50
Published Version: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/0390670...
Status: Published
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Identification Number: 10.1080/03906701.2010.487666
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/43363

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