Sport and the Theatrics of Power in a Postcolonial State: The National Games of 1960s Laos

Simon Creak

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The National Games of 1961 and 1964 transformed the theatrics of state power in postcolonial Laos. While using modern sporting spectacle to promote national unity and progress in a context of Cold War division, the games were also embedded in an existing theatrics of power, which dramatised the status of their founder, General Phoumi Nosavan. The modern motifs of national unity and progress were not only a device of state legitimation; they were also the currency of status display, an end in itself. Combining the theory of spectacle in modern societies with a modified reading of Geertz's "theatre state", this article questions the modernising impact of sport, arguing instead that twentieth-century technologies of performance have transformed the theatrics of power in postcolonial Southeast Asia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-210
    JournalAsian Studies Review
    Volume34
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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