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Economies, movements and populations

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Staging the Olympics and Paralympic games has a number of significant social and economic impacts for the host nation. New jobs will be created as the site is constructed and new homes and services may accompany these. At the same time changes to the local area in which the site is constructed can be damaging to existing employment structures, housing and culture. For example, the construction of the main Olympics site in Stratford for the 2012 games has met resistance and criticism by local people concerned about the impact of the Olympics on the local economy, culture and landscape.

The influx of large numbers of labourers to construct the site (some of whom may be economic migrants) may be welcomed or resisted by the existing population. The creation of thousands of low-level service jobs which support the day-to-day activities of the Olympics may be seen as positive by politicians, but researchers may question the long term benefits of what is largely poorly paid temporary employment.

Changes to the legitimate local economy may be accompanied by changes to the illegitimate local economy for as the local population shifts and changes so does the potential for illegal enterprises such as the trafficking of drugs, black-market goods and human labour (e.g. in the form of prostitutes and drug-carriers). The night-time economy – which sometimes bridges the legitimate and illegitimate spheres - may shift as new bars and clubs open bringing with them changes to the night-time culture and new possibilities.

The landscape itself will change as the construction of the Olympic site and associated developments are built and completed. Not only does this have an impact on the urban landscape but it affects the access different groups within the area have to particular spaces, and impacts upon the use and regulation of the environs.

All of these issues are of interest to sociologists and other social science researchers (including community action groups, schools and policy researchers). This page aims to introduce some of the material in the BL which may be of relevance to research this area, and to provide a space for new ideas and reflections about the social and economic impact of the Olympics.

Getting started with the British Library's collections

Burbank, Matthew J., Andranovich, Gregory D. & Heying, Charles Olympic dreams: the impact of mega-events on local politics
Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001
London reference collections shelfmark: YC.2001.a.10556 DS shelfmark: m03/41829

Cashman, Richard. & Hughes, Anthony Staging the Olympics: the event and its impact
UNSW Press, 1999
DS shelfmark: m01/23519

Preuss, Holger The economics of staging the Olympics: a comparison of the Games, 1972-2008
Edward Elgar, 2004
London reference collections shelfmark: YC.2006.b.1744 DS shelfmark: m04/.36854

Our promise for 2012: how the UK will benefit from the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games
DCMS, 2007
DS shelfmark: m07/.30463

Roche, Maurice Mega-events and modernity: Olympics and expos in the growth of global culture
Routledge, 2000
London reference collections shelfmark: YC.2003.b.2166 DS shelfmark: m00/41968

Toohey, K. & Veal, A.J. The Olympic Games: a social science perspective
CABI, 2007
London reference collections shelfmark: YC.2008.a.2549 DS shelfmark: m08/.36519

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