The republic of consumption at the Olympic Games: Globalization, Americanization, and Californization

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Abstract

Action sports such as beach volleyball and snowboarding have recently become popular commodities at the Olympics. While some observers view these new sports as global phenomena with transnational origins, they were incubated in California and are linked to the promotion of American visions of affluence. The encroachment of these sports onto global stages at the Olympics signals the continuing historical power of Californization, a particular brand of Americanization. The efforts to Californize the world through Olympic sports is considerably older than the debut of action sports, dating to the 1920s and 1930s when a coalition of US government agents, sports promoters, and corporate entrepreneurs began to articulate a strategy to mask Americanization campaigns in the world's leading sporting event under the veneer of California style. In the process they 'dis'-invented historical traditions, in particular Olympic sports, in order to amplify their prospects in global markets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-278
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Global History
Volume8
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science

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