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At present, and as China negotiates the instantiation of consumer capitalism, her urban spaces have experienced agonizing growth affecting housing, the internationalization of cities, interactions between government and developers, the development of rural land, migrant flows, and social stratification within the city. Focusing on Beijing, we locate the efforts to host major sporting events—especially the 1990 Asian Games and the 2008 Olympic Games—within the dynamics of the spatial reconfigurations in Beijing, a rapid reordering based on “capital space” (Harvey, 2001), gentrification, and the lifestyle practices of a burgeoning middle and upper class of Beijingers. In so doing, we offer a multidimensional account of the complex manner in which power, mobility, and transformation within a modernizing Beijing intersects with the discursive constitution of bodies, concluding with regard to new forms of social cleavages and inequalities that derive from embracing, however selectively, the logistics of the market in the framework set by the Chinese nation-state.
The authors are with the Physical Cultural Studies Program in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD.