- The Issue is available here
The year of 2022 has witnessed two major international sports events: the Olympic Winter Games in Beijing and the men’s Football World Cup in Qatar. As flags have been waved, national anthems have been chanted – and two non-democratic countries have seized the opportunity to present themselves to the world – it became evident once again that sport is politics.
Diving into the legacies of the two mega-events, The International Spectator has released its new issue 2/2023 that focuses on the intertwining of sport and international relations.
The issue features the Special Core “Olympic Diplomacy as Contestation: The Legacy of the Beijing Olympics“ by guest editors Emidio Diodato and Veronica Strina. Contestation is explored as a relevant component of Olympic Diplomacy in light of the Olympics’ geopolitics shifting away from the solely Western-democratic sphere. The PRC became the first country that has hosted both Summer and Winter Olympics. The article “China’s Identity in the 2008 and 2022 Beijing Olympics Ceremonies” by Michelle Cabula and Stefano Pochettino compares China’s self-perceived identity in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics of 2008 and 2022. In the article “The European Contestation of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics” by Veronica Strina and Michael Göbbel, the Winter Olympics are approached from a media perspective, drawing a link between European media discourse and the United States’ diplomatic boycott. The final article in the Special Core, “Environmental Discourse during the 2008 and 2022 Beijing Olympic Games” by Francesca Vomeri and Maurizio Gregori, explores environmental matters as part of the PRC’s soft power strategy for the Olympics.
The second section of the issue is all about football. In their article “The Power of Football between the Global and the Local”, Jan Busse and René Wildangel analyse “both emancipatory and repressive dynamics” that football has triggered throughout the Middle East and North Africa. As monarchies in the Gulf region are increasing their efforts to engage in international football, the article “Football and Soft Power in the Gulf” by Cinzia Bianco and Sebastian Sons takes a closer look at Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s “football diplomacy”.
Taking the sport politics discourse to a broader level, Francesco Belcastro examines the political impact of organisations such as FIFA and the International Olympic Committee in his article “International Sport Organisations and the Role of Sport in International Politics”. It is not solely sport but culture itself that plays a role in geopolitics. In their article “The Geopolitics of Culture: Museum Proliferation in Qatar and Abu Dhabi”, Serena Giusti and Alessandro Giovanni Lamonica explore museums as a means to define and transform world views by analysing the two cases in the Gulf region. The issue’s final article “Hybrid Security Provision in African Post-colonial Settings” by Kwesi Aning and Ilana Zelmanovitz Axelrod provides another perspective on the interaction of state and non-state actors in shaping politics as it looks into the post-colonial cases of Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone and their modern and traditional systems of governance.
Finally, the Issue includes two book reviews by René Wildangel and Magda Long of the books:
- Political Economy of Palestine: Critical, Interdisciplinary, and Decolonial Perspectives / Alaa Tartir, Tariq Dana, Timothy Seidel, eds. - Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021
- The Third Option: Covert Action and American Foreign Policy / Loch K. Johnson. - New York: Oxford University Press, 2022.
The Issue 2/2023 is available here.