Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Sociology & Urban Studies

First Advisor

Tanetta Andersson


The Olympics Games is a spectacle that attracts international attention. This focus comes with scrutiny and expectations for the host countries and its urban spaces. There are many constituents involved in the preparation and management of mega-events like the Olympics. The international event presents a stage where power and inequality in urban settings are on display. Dramatic transformations of urban space that make way for Olympic infrastructure are justified in the name of accelerated development. The existing power dynamics are magnified by this spotlight. Rio de Janeiro, the former capital of Brazil, is hosting the Summer Olympic Games in 2016 and the competing discourse surrounding the preparation foreground the urban challenges and power struggles within Brazil. Competing legacies exist in which the Olympic growth machine is promoting a legacy of positive development and an image of a progressive and global Brazil, while marginalized Brazilians are promoting a legacy of inequality. This conflict of meaning is played out in the historically, highly public and politicized arena of athletics. Using frame analysis, this project presents a sociological analysis of Rio de Janeiro’s urban transformation in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games. In particular, this study focuses on the competing economic, social, and political discourses of various International-, State-, and local-level social agents (i.e., International Olympic Committee, Brazilian Government, and local grassroots organizations) working to shape the legacy of this mega-event.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Urban Studies.