The Constitutive Effects of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games’ Documentation in Constructing the ‘New China’

By Marc Kosciejew.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This article argues that the documentation of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games helped the idea of the ‘New China’ to stabilize and emerge. It is through documents – and their associated documentary practices of producing, standardizing, deploying, circulating, inscribing, reading, writing and so on – that this spectacular occasion was related to people across China and around the world, allowing individuals to interact with, imagine, and partake in, not only the Olympics, but also more importantly the emergence of the ‘New China’.
The purpose of this article, therefore, is to analyze the constitutive effects of documentation, drawing attention to how documents and documentary practices help to construct ‘things’, in this case, the idea of the ‘New China’. Documents, and our practices with them, are so ubiquitous that we do not really acknowledge them; they are so obvious that they are hidden. Yet they help to constitute 'things'. By drawing attention to the documentation of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games augments other political, economic, cultural, and social discussions and analyses regarding the construction of ideas and identities, whether they are of Olympian importance, national pride, or individual assertion. Although this article presents a specific documentary case study of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, it has wider conceptual and practical implications for other research, studies, and initiatives into the construction - or constitution - of ideas and identities.

Keywords: Documentation, Documents, Documentary Practices, 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, China, Communist Party, New China

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 8, pp.151-162. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.182MB).

Marc Kosciejew

PhD Candidate, Faculty of Media and Information Studies, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada

Marc Kosciejew is a PhD Candidate in Library and Information Science (LIS)in the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (FIMS) at the University of Western Ontario (UWO).

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