What is Olympism? A Critical Discourse Analysis
Μεταπτυχιακή διπλωματική εργασία
SubjectOlympic movement ; Olympism ; Olympics - Social aspects ; Coubertin - Pierre de - 1863-1937 ; Ολυμπιακό κίνημα ; Ολυμπισμός ; Ολυμπιακοί αγώνες - Κοινωνικές απόψεις
This Master Thesis’ overall aim is to reveal meaning from discourse and discursive practices within the Olympic Movement and the life of its founder Pierre de Coubertin. As the starting point ontological and epistemological assumptions were outlined. By doing this the radical idealist approach, which assumes that one’s perceived reality is entirely subjective and socially as well as culturally constructed could be embedded in a post structural framework. The methodological synthesis which was applied constitutes itself through the all-encompassing critical discourse analysis by Norman Fairclough and is complemented by rather abstract tools from Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. Foucault provides the theoretical basis for the genealogical approach applied in this work and further helps us to identify power/knowledge relations by analyzing discourse. Derrida and his concept of deconstruction shall further prove very useful in revealing meaning from discursive practices. After providing a short introduction and framework of Olympism the genealogical-empirical section of this thesis commences. Since Foucault postulates that in order to identify power/knowledge relations one needs to attempt to return to the very origin of a certain development and because Coubertin derived his thoughts from the ancient Olympic festival the genealogical starting point is clear. After having outlined ancient Greek culture, society and Olympic Games we advance to the 19th century in order to analyze the privileged aristocratic life and ideological formation of Pierre de Coubertin. By choosing this approach deconstructive and analytical tools proved helpful to derive answers to the research questions of how Coubertin came up with his idea of restoring the Olympic Games as well as what he regarded as his concept of Olympism. Once this analysis had been completed it was important to compare this derived conception of Olympism with what had actually happened throughout Olympic history. It becomes quite clear that Olympism was never really adhered to during its entire history. By supporting the Nazi Olympics in Berlin 1936, ignoring the student massacre in Mexico City 1968 while condemning the silent protest against discrimination and for solidarity this analysis suggests that the concept of Olympism is more a means rather than an end. The analysis highlights that extensive human rights violations accompanied the Games in Beijing 2008, Sochi 2014 and Rio de Janeiro 2016. Thus, the conclusion of this critical discourse analysis can only be that Olympism is an ideological chameleon which can fit into any ideology and which can be exploited by any host to camouflage certain actions which would counter the often claimed fundamental principles of Olympism.