World Politics by Other Means? London, City Diplomacy and the Olympics

In: The Hague Journal of Diplomacy
Author: Michele Acuto1
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Drawing on the case of the Olympics, and in particular on the role of London in securing, planning and administering the 2012 Summer Games, this article investigates how cities participate in world politics beyond the traditional avenues of the international system. Tracing how the planning of a sporting mega-event has been woven into London’s international role as a global ‘green’ leader, the article seeks to shed some light on the diplomatic role of cities, as well as on how sport has been used in relation to city diplomacy and urban governance. The Olympics offer a unique window on the multi-scalar reach of these subnational authorities, allowing for substantial public diplomacy initiatives. Major cities such as London, as the article argues, can exert a pervasive diplomatic influence, and planning for sporting events can extend their capacity to link ‘city diplomacy’ with tangible impacts on everyday lives.

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