The geopolitics of sport beyond soft power: event ethnography and the 2016 cycling world championships in qatar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

State leaders in the Arabian Peninsula have increasingly sought to host globalized sporting events to broadcast a cosmopolitan and modern image of the region. These efforts are typically interpreted as examples of states exercising ‘soft power’. This article challenges the state-centric assumptions built into the soft power approach by employing an event ethnography of the 2016 UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Doha. Advancing a more grounded geopolitics of elite sport in the Gulf, I examine how geopolitical identity narratives about Qatar, and the Gulf region more broadly, circulate at various scales and through countless contingent encounters at the event. I ask specifically how these identity narratives are constructed and challenged, both materially and discursively by athletes, spectators and urban residents. Sporting events, I argue, are key sites of geopolitical encounter: where subjects and spaces are not predetermined, but actively constituted through people’s interactions in the host cities and countries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSport in Society
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

world championship
Qatar
geopolitics
ethnography
Sports
event
narrative
spectator
athlete
broadcast
elite
road
leader
resident
interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies

Cite this

@article{1c5f530f62b74efb96beb14165f9473f,
title = "The geopolitics of sport beyond soft power: event ethnography and the 2016 cycling world championships in qatar",
abstract = "State leaders in the Arabian Peninsula have increasingly sought to host globalized sporting events to broadcast a cosmopolitan and modern image of the region. These efforts are typically interpreted as examples of states exercising ‘soft power’. This article challenges the state-centric assumptions built into the soft power approach by employing an event ethnography of the 2016 UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Doha. Advancing a more grounded geopolitics of elite sport in the Gulf, I examine how geopolitical identity narratives about Qatar, and the Gulf region more broadly, circulate at various scales and through countless contingent encounters at the event. I ask specifically how these identity narratives are constructed and challenged, both materially and discursively by athletes, spectators and urban residents. Sporting events, I argue, are key sites of geopolitical encounter: where subjects and spaces are not predetermined, but actively constituted through people’s interactions in the host cities and countries.",
author = "Natalie Koch",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/17430437.2018.1487403",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Sport in Society",
issn = "1743-0437",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The geopolitics of sport beyond soft power

T2 - event ethnography and the 2016 cycling world championships in qatar

AU - Koch, Natalie

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - State leaders in the Arabian Peninsula have increasingly sought to host globalized sporting events to broadcast a cosmopolitan and modern image of the region. These efforts are typically interpreted as examples of states exercising ‘soft power’. This article challenges the state-centric assumptions built into the soft power approach by employing an event ethnography of the 2016 UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Doha. Advancing a more grounded geopolitics of elite sport in the Gulf, I examine how geopolitical identity narratives about Qatar, and the Gulf region more broadly, circulate at various scales and through countless contingent encounters at the event. I ask specifically how these identity narratives are constructed and challenged, both materially and discursively by athletes, spectators and urban residents. Sporting events, I argue, are key sites of geopolitical encounter: where subjects and spaces are not predetermined, but actively constituted through people’s interactions in the host cities and countries.

AB - State leaders in the Arabian Peninsula have increasingly sought to host globalized sporting events to broadcast a cosmopolitan and modern image of the region. These efforts are typically interpreted as examples of states exercising ‘soft power’. This article challenges the state-centric assumptions built into the soft power approach by employing an event ethnography of the 2016 UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Doha. Advancing a more grounded geopolitics of elite sport in the Gulf, I examine how geopolitical identity narratives about Qatar, and the Gulf region more broadly, circulate at various scales and through countless contingent encounters at the event. I ask specifically how these identity narratives are constructed and challenged, both materially and discursively by athletes, spectators and urban residents. Sporting events, I argue, are key sites of geopolitical encounter: where subjects and spaces are not predetermined, but actively constituted through people’s interactions in the host cities and countries.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85054921323&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85054921323&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/17430437.2018.1487403

DO - 10.1080/17430437.2018.1487403

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85054921323

JO - Sport in Society

JF - Sport in Society

SN - 1743-0437

ER -