Research finds out what London 2012 says about Britain

July 27, 2012, University of Bath

When the London 2012 Opening Ceremony is broadcast around the globe, an estimated one billion people will be watching, and inevitably drawing their own conclusions on our nation and what it means to be British.

Dr Michael Silk is a Reader who has specialised in critical social science in relation to sport since the early 1990s. He draws on expertise from research on past Games and around the world to analyse the way that Britain presents itself during the Games, and the global response to this image.

He is director of Bath’s Sport, Physical Activity & Culture research group, based in the Department of Education.

This summer he will be looking at the official narratives of the nation, presented through the Games, particularly in relation to which specific images of Britain are chosen and why, how inclusive they are, how history is used, and which people become connected to such images.

A unique component of the research is that social media will be used to discuss interpretations with the general public.

“The easiest way to conceptualise this research,” said Dr Silk, “is to juxtapose the Olympic image of London and Britain with the images of Britain that flowed around the world last summer of riots and disaffected youth.”

“You have to ask questions over who is actually connected to the Games and who is not. Who fits with the narrative of ‘’Great Britain’ rolled out through the performance segments of the opening ceremony and who is disconnected, by class, gender, race, religion, ethnicity etc. Who are the real ‘winners’ in terms of urban regeneration and financial success?”

Dr Silk sees the research as having a potential impact on LOCOG for its report to Rio in 2016; Visit Britain, with regards to its role in influencing the image of Britain; the BBC, with regards to its coverage of major events in Britain, and the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, affecting how Britain will be presented in major future events such as the Rugby World Cup, Athletic World Championships and bids for other .

Explore further: 'Word of mouth' jobs elude ethnic migrants: study

Related Stories

Researchers to speed up recovery times

May 3, 2012

Elite athletes and recreational exercisers alike could soon be enjoying quicker recovery times thanks to research into exercise-induced fatigue.

Recommended for you

Unprecedented study of Picasso's bronzes uncovers new details

February 17, 2018

Musee national Picasso-Paris and the Northwestern University/Art Institute of Chicago Center for Scientific Studies in the Arts (NU-ACCESS) have completed the first major material survey and study of the Musee national Picasso-Paris' ...

Humans will actually react pretty well to news of alien life

February 16, 2018

As humans reach out technologically to see if there are other life forms in the universe, one important question needs to be answered: When we make contact, how are we going to handle it? Will we feel threatened and react ...

Using Twitter to discover how language changes

February 16, 2018

Scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, have studied more than 200 million Twitter messages to try and unravel the mystery of how language evolves and spreads.

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Squirrel
not rated yet Jul 27, 2012
All depends on whether there is a terrorist outrage. Even without that it shows the dumpness of UK taxpayers to get caught to foot a £11 billion bill for what is only a glorified sports' party.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 27, 2012
Well, german taxpayers footed a 1 billion Euros bill to have George Bush jr. visit for 1 day in 2005 (because the Americans refused to pay for all the security measures they demanded. Like welding all the sewer covers in a major city shut, making sure there were no opened windows anywhere in the city, closing down the Autobahn access (in and out), closing down the airport and rail stations, closing down said city's downtown area for the day, etc.).

Compared to that 11 billion pounds for full on Olympics is a bargain.
roboferret
not rated yet Jul 27, 2012
I'm not fully sold on the Olympics myself, not being a huge sports fan anyway, but it is important to remember where that 11 billion went. A run down area has been completely renovated, a large amount of money has been put back into the British economy, and a good portion of the money will be recovered by selling off the facilities. The athlete's accommodation is to become housing, and I believe there are already discussions to sell the stadium to a football club. We probably won't find out the true cost to the taxpayer for a couple of years.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.