"Wo der Standort trompetet, geht die Freiheit flöten": Bilder interurbanen Wettbewerbs am Beispiel der Bewerbung Leipzigs zur "Candidate City" für die Olympischen Spiele 2012
08 Jun 2005
Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde e.V., Schongauerstr. 9, 04329 Leipzig, Germany
Abstract. Taking the (well-known) thesis of growing interurban and interregional competition (Harvey) as a starting point, the article explores some of the pictures by which interurban competition is illustrated. Two lines of arguments are unfolded: Firstly, competition is regarded as a hegemonic discourse, that means that "...competitiveness is automatically invoked anyway as the unchallengeable and "natural" explanation for what is about to happen" (Schoenberger, 1998:5). And secondly, the economic discourse is widened and transposed beyond the narrow "nucleus of the economy": "Not only firms, but also nations, cities, and localities are enjoined to be more competitive if they wish to prosper" (Sheppard, 2000:169). As a case study we analyse the representation of Leipzig bidding (nationally resp. internationally) for the status as a candidate city for the Olympic Games 2012. The emphasis is on spatial metaphors circulating in public communication, i.e. pictures which illustrate the actually abstract idea of interurban competition in a very catchy and neat fashion. One of the most important motifs is taken from sports itself: cities are depicted as athletes taking part in a sporting competition (e.g. a race). Ideas as "fair play" and "being the winner" etc. frame the public representation of cities in a very specific way. Inevitably, there has to be a symbolic system placing the cities on "their position". This is taken from the idea of being (or not being) a "world-city" - or at least an "European metropole".