Breakfast seminar: Lecture by Chris Gaffney
We are pleased to invite you to the next event of the Cities & Society seminar series.
The Extraordinary Rendition of Circulations: grounding dispossession in the mega-event accumulation regime. By Christopher Gaffney
Breakfast is served from 09:00
Chris Gaffney. Photo: University of Zurich
About the lecture:
Sports mega-events are extraordinarily profitable for their monopolistic rights holders. The 2014 FIFA World Cup cycle generated $4.8 billion in revenue for the Zürich-based organization, resulting in $2.6 billion profit. Television companies paid the IOC $4.1 billion to broadcast the 2016 Summer Olympics, and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee brought in at least $1.3 billion in advertising contracts. In the local context, construction firms, transportation interests, tourist agencies, and the security sector all profit during an event cycle, while the public finances the spectacle. The imbalances between public expenditure and private accumulation have never been more starkly evident, yet our understanding of how this functions in the context of the event itself remains under-theorised. Scholars have analysed sport mega-events as processes that both implement and accelerate neo-liberal accumulation regimes. In this context, one of the dominant theoretical frames of neo-liberal accumulation theory has been Harvey ́s (2005) Accumulation by Dispossession. However applicable this theory might be in the context of a macro political economy, it does not describe in fine detail the physicality of dispossession, nor how, where, or to whom dispossession accumulates. In order to theorise more robustly the mega-event as an integral part of a globalizing accumulation regime, I examine one specific way in which we can apply the broader framework of accumulation by dispossession within the embodied and spatialised practices of the event itself. I propose that the Extraordinary Rendition of Circulations is one of the principal mechanisms for accumulation by dispossession in the urban context of sports mega-events. If the provision of infrastructure by government is one of the primary, and most costly, tasks of hosting a mega-event, then it is the extraordinary rendition of that infrastructure that allows the event to occur as programmed. The massive security deployments around events are guarantees that event circulations (flights, buses, fibre optics, cell phones, energy) will function in service of the event itself, resulting in accumulation for rights holders. Those who do not hold rights are not entitled to circulate at will and indeed are prohibited from doing so through a number of specific interventions: extra holidays, road closures, security details, surveillance cameras, preventive arrests, pricing mechanisms, etc. In this paper, I will explore the ways in which the Extraordinary Rendition of Circulation functioned in the context of Brazil ́s mega-event cycle, arguing that it is only through a dialectical examination of flows, circulations, and accumulations that we can more fully understand the political economy of mega-events and their impacts on cities. By focusing on the ways in which urban circulations are extraordinarily rendered (and contested) we gain insight into the instrumentality of infrastructure in the mega-event accumulation regime.
About the speaker:
Dr. Christopher Gaffney is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich . His research examines the dynamic processes through which the World Cup and Olympic Games impact cities. Gaffney has published academic and journalistic pieces on sports venue construction, gentrification, security, transportation infrastructure, urban political economy, event management, and social movements. He is the author of Temples of the Earthbound Gods (2008, University of Texas Press) and serves as the Editor of the Journal of Latin American Geography.
About the seminar series Cities & Society:
As a growing majority of the planet's population live in urban landscapes, cities are increasingly identified by a wider variety of actors as the primary strategic ground for resolving some of the most pressing environmental, political, and social challenges of the 21st century. In this context, there is an urgent need to reexamine some of the basic categories and concepts used to define and decipher urban processes, and to more broadly pose the questions of what characterizes the urban today and what approaches that can help us to successfully generate new urban theory and knowledge. By inviting international expertise working at the frontiers of urban research, this seminar series seeks address these questions and support the development of a dynamic and robust research environment around contemporary urban issues at the University of Oslo.
For more information on the seminar series, please the website: