Social impacts of mega-events play an important role in local residents' lives. These impacts are not always positive. However, social impacts, especially negative social impacts, of mega-events were discussed by only a small number of studies and most studies on the impacts of mega-events adopted a positivist research paradigm, using rigorous scientific method that is based upon hypothesis formulation and testing against empirical evidence. An emerging research paradigm, namely critical theory, provides understandings that technical rationality can overlook and involves the application of principles or values in order to make judgments for the purpose of bringing about positive change, which is quite suitable for the study of social impacts of mega-events. Thus, the purpose of this study is to utilize critical theory to synthesize previous studies on the social impacts of mega-events, critically examine the positive as well as negative impacts of mega-events. After a critical review of book chapters, journal articles, and media reports on this subject, three themes were identified, which are local community, tourism and recreation, and comfort of life. Adopting critical theory with a special focus on its domain of rejection of economic determinism, multiple forms of power that exist in the context of mega-events were examined and discussed in detail. Suggestions for future research on this subject were provided.
|Keywords:||Critical Theory, Mega-events, Social Impacts|
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Pennsylvania State University, STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania, USA