Olympic Culture: National and Postnational Identity

By Amanda Huffingham and Lauren Global 

Identity in Contemporary Greece: In defining the identity of their citizens for the 2004 Olympics Greece divided their citizens into the ideal (those that partake in national culture through continuous blood realtion) and the marginalized (non-ethnic and non-Greek orthodox who are excluded from national narrative and in the case of the 2004 Olympics were portrayed as the majority wanted them to be seen: as “Internal Otherness”) The three reigning catergories of other being Ideal Other, Citizen Other and Marginalized other.

Greeks identified themselves of the origins of European civilization with an emphasis on diversity at a subnational level so that the recent influx of immigrants would be concealed. The ethnic focus was to focus on contemporary popularity as an exotic commodity with a global market. However, the end result was that the dirty laundry of Greece was exposed. The crisis of a nation was revealed as Greece went from high art “European” to low culture “Eastern”.

The olympic space was viewed as a denationalized space for the reinvention of citizenship.

Architect Santiago Calatrava of Spain created the structure of the olympics that many Greeks referred to an infrastructure project though Calavaltra justified it by referencing the Acropolis, the Aghia Sophia and even Greece’s flag making the connection of the arch he intended to use with historical Greece. The problem being that the arch is always a part of the architect’s work.Calavaltra referred to the project as something that would “aesthetically unite”, nurturing the city as a space for growth, interaction and dialogue. The achitect even thought of the project as “Europeanization” through “multiculturalism” because of all the different nationalities represented in the construction of the arch. The reality is that if this is an example of multiculturalism that does so through geopolitical hierarchy.

The end result of the project may have been connected to Greece in Form but not content.

Global Market Intergration: Technology allowing for the of work of the imagination in space of contextation. Through the Olympics new Ethnoscapes were created that changed public discourse. Cultures here are imposed and there is an encounter of culture based on globalization. Here the role of the postnational imaginary is overcoming nationalism and accepting the otherness through expressing plural attachment and alliance. An example of Subnational versus Supranational.

Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy  Arjun Appadurai


The world we live in now seems rhizomic (even schizophrenic), calling for theories of rootlessness, alienation, and psychological distance between individuals and groups on the one hand, and fantasies (or nightmares) of electronic propinquity on the other.” P. 29 As a result of the disjuncture and difference in economy and global culture that exists today, there is now a role of the imagined landscape or ethnoscape. An Ethnoscape is the landscape of a person who constitutes the shifting world in which they live. Today there exist many relationships between the five major -scapes: Ethnoscapes, Mediascapes, Technoscapes, Financescapes and Ideoscapes. All –scapes are subject to their own constraints and incentives. Technoscapes implies the fluid global configuration of technology and the high speed at which it travels across previously impossible boundaries. The term financescape refers to the disposition of global capital which now moves quickly and has become difficult to follow. For example through it’s relationship with human movement, technological flow and financial transfers. Mediascapes are image centered and consist of “strips” of reality in which people are able to imagine new lives and create metaphors in which to live. The term Ideoscapes also consist of images that are political and meant to insinuate power. In the Global Political Economy there is a deeply disjunctive relationship among human movement. Past groups become parts of museums as a national or transnational spectacle therefore culture is less reproducible and more representational. In fact, when looking at the Disjuncture of society is best to view things through the metaphor of a fractal as the shape of culture, implying the overlap and resemblance of disjunctive icon implying the human chaos theory. This means the dynamics first rely on the image of flow of uncertainty through chaos therefore there is some preorder given to relatively determining forces of global flow through person, technology, finance and ideology.



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