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“Actually Existing” Olympism – The Beijing 2008 Games and China’s Neoliberal Project


  • Christopher J. Smith
  • Katie M.G. Himmelfarb


The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games have been the subject of much speculation because of the Olympic movement’s purported compatibility with the promotion of universal human rights, the elimination of discrimination, and international peace. The powerful ideology of “Olympism” has much in common with the increasingly widespread phenomenon of neoliberalism, including a focus on “mega-events” and projects; a shared vocabulary of individual liberty, competition, and achievement; and an uneven record in promoting such values in reality. This paper outlines an agenda for a multi-scalar evaluation of the effect of the Beijing Games, focusing on some of the likely geographical impacts and the potential they have to influence social justice, as understood in spatial terms.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher J. Smith & Katie M.G. Himmelfarb, 2008. "“Actually Existing” Olympism – The Beijing 2008 Games and China’s Neoliberal Project," Journal of Current Chinese Affairs - China aktuell, Institute of Asian Studies, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 37(2), pages 36-59.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:chaktu:v:37:y:2008:i:2:p:36-59

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