The Expediency of Hybridity: Beijing 2008

Robert Moses Peaslee, Shu Ling Chen Berggreen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this article, we examine the Opening Ceremonies of the Beijing Olympiad as an opportunity for the Chinese government to "speak" using a highly expedient discourse of hybridity (Pieterse, 2004). Moreover, we ask how Beijing 2008 may be representative of a larger trend whereby Olympic events serve to chill free speech. We suggest that it is important to see how the apolitical discourse adopted by the International Olympic Committee and its corporate partners can serve to minimize conflicts for the sake of entertainment value. Building on previous work engaging the Chinese television show Super Girl (Peaslee, Berggreen, & Kwak, 2010), in which the authors suggested that the show's disruption of gender conservatism (hybridity) was "expedient," we apply the same theoretical construct to the 2008 Opening Ceremonies, where overt political control and abnegation of personal and press freedoms are obscured by a celebration of Sino-Olympic diversity. Using discourse and textual analysis, we examine the discursive context within China prior to the Games, the artistic program, and the cultural-linguistic packaging of that program by the American broadcaster NBC. We suggest that engaging these texts in close proximity allows the clearest view of the problematic relationship between states, artists, and corporations that background any Olympiad.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525-545
Number of pages21
JournalMass Communication and Society
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012

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