Living the Olympics: Sociality, Citizenship, Control

UK researchers who gained exceptional access to the police force of the London borough of Newham, the location of the London 2012 Olympic village and stadium, will discuss their preliminary findings at a symposium organised by the University of Western Sydney.

'Living the Olympics' will explore how the London Games were policed, including dealing with large urban flows; Olympic-related crime; relations among police, security and emergency services; and the impacts of the Olympics on the host community.

The symposium will also hear from sociologists from Canada and Australia about the leisure and urban regeneration dimensions of the Olympics, and compare various aspects of the Sydney, London and Vancouver Games.

"It is extraordinary that, just after the Paralympics close, specialist social science researchers are able to meet in Sydney to review London 2012 and compare it to other Olympics," says Professor David Rowe, from the UWS Institute for Culture and Society.

"Our visitors from Britain will be able for the first time to discuss security, crime and policing issues that they could not have discussed any earlier on secrecy grounds".

"At the same time, this is an opportunity to address the sport mega events as an urban, cultural and leisure phenomenon."

Professor Rowe says many people ask whether being a host city is worth all the cost and disruption.

"Is the Olympics a very expensive party, or does it deliver real, lasting benefits across the host community?" he says.

"London 2012 is said have rivalled Sydney 2000 as 'the best Games ever'. But that judgement will depend both on expectations and on how residents and visitors encountered the Games."

"That is why it is important to look closely at the 'hard' aspects like policing and surveillance alongside the social and sporting sides of the Olympics."

WHAT: Living the Olympics: Sociality, Citizenship, Control
WHEN: 10am-5pm 11 September 2012
WHERE: University of Western Sydney Parramatta Campus, room EB2.21


5 September 2012

Contact: Mark Smith, Media Officer