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7 - Warrior Goddess Versus Bipedal Cow: Sport, Space, Performance and Planning in an Indian City

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2012

James Heitzman
Affiliation:
University of California
Smriti Srinivas
Affiliation:
University of California
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Summary

Introduction: Of Cities and Spectacles

David Harvey (1985a; 1985b) describes a concentration of artifacts of consumption such as entertainment complexes, convention centers, gentrified neighborhoods or amusement parks as one type of development strategy available to cities under the conditions of late capitalism. Other authors, describing the city as a ‘theme park’ in the late twentieth century, have critiqued the end of public space and the increasing surveillance of citizens in American cities such as Los Angeles, New York, or Minneapolis (Sorkin 1992). More recently, by analyzing gentrification programs, beauty contests and sports events in Atlanta (Ruthesier 1996), Istanbul (Keyder 1999) and Beijing (Brownell 2001) scholars have theorized the relationship between cities and spectacles under conditions of globalization and liberalization. By contrast Orsi (1999) and Srinivas (2001) describe the continuing relevance of religious maps, architectural complexes and sacred processions for presenting alternative topographies and emotional geographies of the city in relation to suburbanization, capital accumulation and diasporic or regional labor movements. This article will attempt to contribute to this debate about cities and spectacles by tracing the embeddedness of specific body cultures, wrestling and martial arts disciplines of considerable antiquity and ‘sportized’ athletics, within the larger space of ‘urban performative genres’. The article suggests that we need to consider an entire range of performances, ranging from festivals and sacred processions to political rallies, sports events and beauty contests, in order to understand the relationship between urban planning, environmental history, and politico-symbolic contests over public space.

Type
Chapter
Information
Subaltern Sports
Politics and Sport in South Asia
, pp. 139 - 172
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2005

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