In recent years, mega-events – especially the FIFA World Cup, the Olympics, and international expositions – have called into action all kinds of capital, reconfigured territorial scales of power, and produced new rhetoric regarding urbanism and global cities that proclaims a convergence between public and private interests. Sustained by a discourse of dynamic competition in global flows of investment and of a consequent growth of local economies, the model of the global city acts as a guide for those who conceive of and implement urban interventions. Meanwhile, dominant groups work to systematically silence all forms of resistance to this model of cities through their hegemony in symbolic fields and by the use of force. Simultaneously immense media coverage of megaevents takes place and huge numbers of people engage in their performance.
Since November 2010, when the first International Conference on Mega-Events and the City took place in Rio de Janeiro, resistance movements have become increasingly active, and geographers, architects, urbanists, sociologists, urban planners, political scientists, anthropologists and other professionals have contributed to the growth of knowledge in this field. In international encounters across disciplinary fields – such as the International Sociological Association (ISA), the Association of American Geographers (AAG), the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), and the Brazilian National Association of Graduate Studies and Research in Urban and Regional Planning (ANPUR), among others – research into multiple forms of ‘global’ city models as well as mobilizations of resistance to has grown increasingly important. Now is the time to bring together, systematize, confront, and share this accumulated knowledge among the research community and civil society. The Second International Conference on Mega-Events and the City has as its objectives both the consolidation of this field of urban studies and the promotion of dialogue between researchers, teachers, students, and professionals from the public and private spheres, as well as human rights activists from around the world. The Conference aims to bring together those engaged in the study, planning, and promotion of mega-events, as well as in the conflicts that result from them.
With the FIFA World Cup opening in Brazilian cities in June 2014, and the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, action, change and debate are the order of the moment in Brasil and Rio in particular. The Conference will take place in the context of contest, rapid development and mounting excitement over these megaevents.