Müller M, 2011, "State dirigisme in megaprojects: governing the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi" Environment and Planning A 43(9) 2091 – 2108
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State dirigisme in megaprojects: governing the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
Received 7 July 2010; in revised form 7 August 2010
Abstract. This paper examines the preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, and links it to debates on state rescaling and urban entrepreneurialism in megaprojects. It is argued that the Olympic megaproject in Sochi follows a model of state dirigisme which accords a salient role to the national state. Although private sector companies act as investors, the national state steers the planning process and directs the investment. This arrangement is reflected in a business – state relationship in which the boundaries between the public and the private sector become blurred, as the state establishes directive control over companies. The model of state dirigisme is underpinned by a nationalist narrative which frames the Olympic Games not primarily as a stimulus for economic development and global competitiveness but as a contribution to Russian greatness. This mode of governing the Olympic Games deviates from the model of entrepreneurial governance and the concomitant state rescaling, dominant in megaprojects in North America and Western Europe, in according a prominent role to the national state rather than to market-led development pushed by cities as lead actors.
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