Planning for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy: a figurational analysis

Daniel Bloyce, EMILY LOVETT

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this article is to provide a figurational analysis of the plans for the participation legacy of London 2012. In the build-up to hosting the Games, there have been three different Prime Ministers and two different London Mayors; therefore, the changing political, and economic, landscape that impacted on the policy formation is a feature of this article. From a figurational sociological perspective, policy tends to be a complex, often contradictory and messy process frequently lacking a convincing evidence base. Such features are quite apparent within the legacy policies analysed for this article. This research entailed qualitative documentary analysis of official publications (n = 102) from selected organizations. Documents were analysed through coding emerging themes. A key feature of our findings was the centrality of the notion of an inherent ‘inspiration’ in virtually all publications analysed. It also emerged that the complexity of the networks involved in ‘delivering’ the legacy contributed to an unintended consequence that few, if any, organizations were willing to take accountability for any specific participation legacy outcomes. There was also limited reference to valid evidence in support of the claims being made in most publications. Despite the changing political climate, policy was characterized by continuity alongside change. The London 2012 Games were found to be too much of a ‘focusing event’ that the change in government did not impact substantially on the process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-377
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2012


  • Olympics
  • legacy
  • participation
  • inspiration
  • partnerships


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