"We are GREAT Britain": British newspaper narratives during the London 2012 Olympic Games

John Vincent, John S. Hill, Andrew Billings, John Harris, C. Dwayne Massey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

British newspaper narratives were examined during the 2012 London Olympic Games to discern how the British press promoted specific “narratives of the nation.” For the London-based British press, the home Olympics became the ideal medium not only to sell newspapers and electronic format subscriptions, but also to (re)present their views on Britain and what it stood for. Using a qualitative textual analysis methodology, this study drew on Anderson’s theory of the “imagined community” and Edmunds and Turner’s concepts of benign and malign nationalism to provide insights about how Britishness was framed. For a country struggling to shake off the economic recession, early narratives about the Games were imbued with concerns about the escalating costs of hosting the Games and fears of terrorism. However, the critical early tone of British newspaper narratives was supplanted with uplifting, inspirational stories about the unprecedented success of Team GB athletes. This provided British journalists with an opportunity to reengineer Britishness to reinforce some traditional values and inject some new inclusive ones. Although at times, complex, contested and contradictory, the narratives generally linked the internationalism of the Olympics with a progressive, benign version of Britishness that emphasized inclusion, tolerance, and creativity and, at least temporarily, redefined how Britain regarded itself and was viewed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)895-923
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Volume53
Issue number8
Early online date9 Feb 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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Olympic Games
newspaper
narrative
internationalism
subscription
athlete
recession
journalist
tolerance
nationalism
creativity
terrorism
inclusion
electronics
anxiety
methodology
costs
community
economics
Values

Keywords

  • newspaper narratives
  • London
  • 2012 Olympics

Cite this

Vincent, John ; Hill, John S. ; Billings, Andrew ; Harris, John ; Massey, C. Dwayne. / "We are GREAT Britain" : British newspaper narratives during the London 2012 Olympic Games. In: International Review for the Sociology of Sport. 2018 ; Vol. 53, No. 8. pp. 895-923 .
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"We are GREAT Britain" : British newspaper narratives during the London 2012 Olympic Games. / Vincent, John; Hill, John S.; Billings, Andrew; Harris, John; Massey, C. Dwayne.

In: International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Vol. 53, No. 8, 12.2018, p. 895-923 .

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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