When it's gone it's gone: the politics of the Save Meadowbank stadium campaign

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The Save Meadowbank Campaign has, since 2007, successfully fought Edinburgh Council’s decision to demolish, without community consultations, Meadowbank stadium and sport facilities to fund a city-wide sporting vision. Drawing on sociological literature on stadium protests, 21 interviews with key actors, and analysis of relevant documents and Internet material, I suggest that, by underestimating the symbolism of stadiums, under-resourced officials lacked the required media strategy and unified coalition to counter a unique protest. An uneasy alliance of left-wing Solidarity party activists and sport enthusiasts created an emotive political and sporting campaign, with more local credibility than the sporting arguments of international stadium consultants and under-resourced and politically naïve officials. Protestors campaigned inside and outside the political system through fear, sympathy and alliances with politicians, facility users, the media, residents, academics, celebrities and sport stars. This unified coalition contrasted with the loose pro-demolition coalition which lacked an individual or group capable of fronting a political campaign. Over-riding all this was the organisation of key Meadowbank decisions just before the 2007 local election. This encouraged a political bandwagon against the Council’s vision – which protestors skillfully encouraged through traditional protest tactics and use of the Internet – which delayed proceedings until it was mothballed by the 2008 global recession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-642
Number of pages15
JournalLocal Economy
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

Keywords

  • community
  • cyberprotest
  • democracy
  • Edinburgh
  • politics
  • sport stadiums

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