Security and the Olympics

Posted by Claire Jarvis, Commissioning Editor for Sociology

Often seen as the host nation’s largest ever logistical undertaking, accommodating the Olympics and its attendant security infrastructure brings seismic changes to both the physical and social geography of its destination.

Thursday’s announcement that G4S, the official security provider at the 2012 Olympics, has ordered an internal investigation following the arrest of two of its guards on suspicion of possessing explosives, has once again highlighted how defence of the Olympic site has become a central feature of the planning process.

Securing and Sustaining the Olympic City

Securing and Sustaining the Olympic City is a new book from Pete Fussey, (University of Essex, UK), Jon Coaffee, (University of Birmingham UK), Gary Armstrong, (Brunel University, UK) and Dick Hobbs, (University of Essex, UK), which explores the logistical issues of both developing and securitizing the Olympic neighbourhood in Stratford, East London.

Through analyzing the social and community impact of the 2012 Games and its security operation on East London, this book concludes by considering the key debates as to whether utopian visions of legacy can be sustained given the demands of providing a global securitized event of the magnitude of the modern Olympics.


‘Mega-events such as the Olympics have become vehicles for different forms of transformation. To date, however, such events have largely escaped mainstream academic scrutiny. With the Olympics arriving at the heart of London this situation is apt to change, and Securing and Sustaining the Olympic City is a crucial resource for helping us to understand how these Games will shape the vital issues of urban securitization and sustainability for decades to come in one of the great cities of the world.’   Kevin Haggerty, University of Alberta, Canada

‘This is a very interesting interdisciplinary study of the security construction for the London 2012 Olympic Games, which enriches the nascent field of Olympic Security. Its documented analysis of the serious “glocal” security processes and their social impacts are very important and useful not only for the London Olympic City’s specific case, but for all future Olympics and sporting mega-events.’   Minas Samatas, University of Crete, Greece

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