Thursday, May 12, 2011

Performing Nation-ness... Google Scholar Brings It!

So... with my grad school courses, I have access to all kinds of badass academic databases like EbscoHost (which generally rocks) and Jstor and whatnot... they don't quite pool EVERY journal and article, but they cover most of the bases between them, and the journal stuff is fun. You know: for nerds like me.

Well... the topic I'd like to write on for one of my classes is this:

During mega-events like the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup, host nations get a huge stage on which to present their cultures.  That's all well and good... but especially when those countries aren't part of the commonly accepted "West" (and sometimes even then), such events are also seen as opportunities for those countries to demonstrate that they're a "major player" and to prove their nation's level of "advancement" (whatever that means) -- think about how Beijing used the Olympics as much as a showcase of "rising China" as it was a showcase for athletes and sports and stuff.  Part of Seoul 1988 was the Seoul "Look How Far We've Come" Olympics, and such a practice goes all the way back to Mexico (1968) (where folks were trying to get Mexicans to behave to "international standards" as well "Teaching Mexicans How To Behave: Public Education on the Eve of the Olympics").

Add to that the way sports are a GREAT arena to generate nationalist feeling, and to put together nationalist stories, and a country hosting a big event like the olympics is in a unique situation where the leaders/event organizers can work on changing the behavior of their citizens in order to meet "international standards" -- I'm working on digging up material about China's attempts to curb "rude" behaviors during the Beijing olympics, so as not to offend international guests, and I'd like to talk about Korea's own attempts to "meet international standards" (whatever that means, and whatever those are), in order to put Korea's best foot forward to the world, in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and the 2002 Korea/Japan world cup. I think it's interesting that part of creating one's own national story can (in the case of such a mega-event) be a kind of performance for an imagined audience (not all of it was, but part of it was)... and that the performance of one's own culture can, at the same time, change one's own culture.

For my paper, one of the articles I really wanted to look up was titled "Performing Nation-ness in South Korea During the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup"... for obvious reasons.

But Ebscohost didn't have the full text available.  Crap.

...but Google Scholar did!  I never expected in a decade that Google Scholar would have, for free, something the very extensive (and expensive, university sponsored) database didn't have.

So... cool.  And you can read it yourself here.

And these are the things that make me excited these days.  Also, the dog farted yesterday. It was funny.

The comments are open. You're free to call me a nerd.

Or even better, if you have links to Korean editorials, video clips of PSA's about "representing Korea to the world" during the 2002 World Cup or 1988 Olympics, or buzzwords, key phrases or slogans that'll bring them up for me while I search, you know, you can tell me about them, too.  I'll find them on my own if you don't, but if you have that stuff at your fingertips/in your memory anyway... cool.


Sophie said...

I'm really curious about why you removed your post on"jakeinkorea", about the demise of a blog the writer wanted to keep secret from his wife. In your post, you said it was because a "relative" threatened to out him.

Roboseyo said...

the post was generally half-baked, and the last half was mean-spirited.

and after all the ATEK crap, I was tired of going back and forth with commenters.

i'm still not cool with the fact a blogger can't feel safe writing about Korea, even behind anonymity, especially when it's a good writer who approaches unique topics like jake... but the post was a pretty poorly done expression of that.

So... were you in Korea in 1988?

matt said...

Korea Witness has a chapter about the Olympics which is worth reading. Time had Pico Iyer cover the olympics - there's likely some interesting stuff at their site. "Playing for Keeps," an essay by Ian Buruma might be useful (can send that along if you like). Google news will likely turn up reports from around the time of the Olympics in English language papers around the world - do a time-based search there. Spending a few hours looking up Korea Times on microfilm at the National Assembly Library would likely turn up a lot of stuff (Mon-Fri before 6pm).

One of the things that is forgotten is just how much Anti-Americanism was floating around during the 88 Olympics - scratch the surface and you'll find a lot of it. Nationalism very quickly turned in that direction on many occasions at that time.

Sophie said...

Woah! "so...were you in Korea in 1988"?
That seriously scared me for a minute. Than I realized you were talking about your article. I was in Seoul in 1988! My first time, for 5 weeks. I was staying with my biological family and they did not speak a word of English and I did not speak a word of Korean. I got lost in the rain for 24 hours and ended up at a police station. All the neon red crosses got me lost because I was using it as a land mark, didn't know there were so many. Yes, Christianity made me lose my way.I am in Korea right now and have been here since November, except for a brief trip back to the U.S. for Christmas. I am going to blog some day....

kushibo said...

Actually, the practice arguably goes back at least to 1964, when Tokyo used the Olympics to demonstrate that they had recovered and were a beacon of peace.

In a class I recently took on globalization and sociology, I did a lengthy treatise on how institutions of the global elite (e.g., IOC, World Bank, etc.) awarded Beijing the Olympics because they expected a similar level of democratization as in Seoul, which has been held up as a model of success in terms of effecting positive political change, but it backfired big time, as Beijing sought to avoid any and all embarrassment by cracking down on any possible sign of dissent.

Anonymous said...

This is a really interesting topic. I'm jealous that you're getting to study it.

Roboseyo said...

Wetcasements: it's fun. I've modified my thesis to accomodate the fact my Korean reading is still shite... but still fun.

Kushibo: If i have the time, I might be comparing the ways Tokyo, Mexico City, and Seoul represented themselves in the essay.

In your treatise, did you look at David Black and Shona Bezanson's article, "The Olympic Games, human rights and democratisation: lessons from Seoul and implacations for Beijing" (third world quarterly 2004)

or "Using History to Think about the Beijing Olympics: The Use and Abuse of the Seoul 1988 Analogy" (Jeffery N. WasserstromHarvard International Journal of Press/Politics, winter 2002, vol.7 issue 1) which asserted that the conditions were already ripe for democratization in Korea, and the Olympic stage/microscope simply sped along a process already happening, whereas Beijing was very careful to avoid similar preconditions?

Anonymous said...

I too have been in a bit of a crunch finding articles and google scholar has had just what I am looking for. Had to check and make sure it was a valid journal and surprisingly it was.

Unknown said...

What about South Africa hosting the World Cup last year? I mean, Africa is not important in the white man world and all, and yeah, South Africa has over four million white people and is extremely multicultural and all, but going by the history of apartheid and how they they have prospered and all surely it should count for what you are doing, right? Moreso than the Beijing Olympics I would think.

Roboseyo said...


Yep. The countries I'll be looking into most seriously are:
South Africa World Cup 2010 (FIFA's latest selections have been very interesting politically)
Beijing Olympics 2008
Mexico City Olympics 1968
Tokyo Olympics 1964
Seoul Olympics 1988

But because it's so recent, there isn't much scholarship on the 2010 World Cup - it takes a little time for scholars to get a bit of perspective on an event and start publishing peer-reviewed stuff about it. Interestingly, an important part of the Sydney Games' bid (from what I've read) was also the fact all of Australia's Aboriginal peoples supposedly were cool with the olympics coming to Sydney. I don't know if USA or Canada's First Nations' were asked how they felt about the LA, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, Lake Placid, Calgary, Montreal, Atlanta, Vancouver, or Squaw Valley(! 1960) games.

David Black already wrote an article in Politikon about the SA World Cup as part of a 2010 retrospective: "The Symbolic Politics of Sports Mega-Events" and Norbert Kersting wrote "Sport and national identity: A Comparison of the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups" which you might want to look up.

kushibo said...

The global elite institutions (e.g., IOC, FIFA) themselves provide rationale, via statements and interviews, as to why they picked this location or that. If you haven't, maybe you should look into that for your paper.

The stuff from 1968 or 1964 might be harder to find (perhaps 1988) as well, but stuff for 2008 and 2010 might be readily available online.

Might I also suggest using the Time archives and looking how ever many years prior to the games themselves for statements about what they decided.

Roboseyo said...

Thanks, Kushibo. Wikipedia is easy enough to find out when selections were made; from there, a quick look in NYT or Time Magazine around those dates would certainly spot such rationales... we'll see if my topic leads me specifically there. It might.

superA1 said...

You might be really interested in taking a look at how four of Canada's First Nations used the 2010 Vancouver Olympics as a chance to showcase themselves, too. They did a great job of it, and increased their financial and political clout at the same time. Very similar to some of the countries you are talking about here. :)

CedarBough said...

was the focus of a special panel at the 2008 AAS conference in Chicago. I'd also look for the work of Margaret Walker Dilling while you were on the Seoul Olympics track...

Anonymous said...

Google scholar is rad-- I used it all the way through grad school.

Roboseyo said...

not so much for research, but for general expanding knowledgeiness, I'm also fond of all the free stuff you can find on iTunes University.

CedarBough said...

saw this, thought of you

gordsellar said...

Ha, of course, this all connects to the way control of national representation works, and that's a game more than developing nations play. The first thing I thought when you mentioned Beijing was Potemkin villages, except of course that Beijing stifling dissent represents Beijing not really getting (or, more likely, not caring) what Westerners are looking for. We think signs of dissent are good. At least, the same among us do.

But then, if you look at how the US State Department handled the use of jazz music (from the 1950s to the 1970s, if I remember right) as a representation of democratic freedom all over the world, you see a similar pattern. Black musicians were being sent out to preach the democracy and freedom and equality of America, while blacks were denied (and fighting for) all kinds of civil rights at home. The State Department did not like how certain African-American musicians spoke of this irony, and when it got the chance to send a band into the USSR, it was (though a racially-mixed group) led by a white musician -- if I remember right, Benny Goodman. Also, Dave Brubeck was used for a lot of later tours, in favor of relatively outspoken radicals like Dizzy Gillespie (or even the more moderate Louis Armstrong).

The interesting difference between 2002 and 1988, or whatever other cases you're looking at, is how "out of official control" (or grassroots) the later case may or may not have been. Certainly it was shaped by commercial interests -- I had a friend in '02 whose father ran one of the factories in Jeolla where (at least some of) the Be The Reds shirts were being manufactured, and the whole Red Devils craze was certainly a business boom for them...

But mainly, I'm just envious of your access to JSTOR. Hell, even professors like me don't have access to those databases where I work!

(And if you were willing, say, in exchange for some good homebrewed beer, to let me "borrow" your password for a weekend, I would be on JSTOR for 48 hours straight getting stuff.)

Roboseyo said...

Does JSTOR or EBSCOhost have annual subscriptions for individuals, or does it have to be through a library?

Does your university give you a library card? I'm assuming you've looked into it...