Sustainable Development, Shock and Awe? London 2012 and Civil Society

Hayes, Graeme and Horne, John orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-4389-8204 (2011) Sustainable Development, Shock and Awe? London 2012 and Civil Society. Sociology, 45 (5). pp. 749-764. ISSN 0038-0385

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There is a disconnection between the top-down, elite, nature of sports mega-events and the ostensible redistributive and participatory sustainable development agendas staked out by BINGOs (Business-based International Non-Governmental Organizations) such as the contemporary International Olympic Committee (IOC). Focusing specifically on the London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games, we argue that, for all the environmental technology advances offered by sports mega-events, their dominant model remains one of a hollowed-out form of sustainable development. Despite significant technical and methodological innovations in environmental stewardship, the development model of the London Olympics remains predicated on the satisfaction of transnational investment flows. We discuss what this means for claims about the staging of a ‘green’ Olympic Games.

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