Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Book Chapter

Date of this Version

March 2008

Publication Source

Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the New China

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When Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz wrote Media Events, their masterful analysis of mass ceremonies of the twentieth century (coronations, the moon landing, the Kennedy funeral), the emphasis was on the celebratory or cohesion-building qualities of such global incidents. Now, reflecting on geopolitical changes that have intensified since the publication of the book, they have come to think more of the brutal competition that occurs to appropriate these phenomenona by a variety of groups and powers in society. Katz has argued that "terrorism" has created a new category of media event. Dayan, with whose modification this chapter is more concerned, has used the word hijack to imply the sometimes forceful, but certainly involuntary or antagonistic, seizure of world attention by altering the expected and legitimated narrative of these singular moments (2005). Dayan reflects the hunger by a multitude of groups to gain the extraordinary benefit of huge investments in platforms established by others, and, in so doing, take advantage of elaborately created fora to advance political and commercial messages. Media events become marked by efforts by free riders or interlopers to seize the opportunity to perform in a global theater of representation.



Date Posted: 21 April 2008