Sven Daniel Wolfe

Sven Daniel Wolfe
University of Zurich | UZH · Department of Geography

Doctor of Philosophy in Geography

About

30
Publications
4,263
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110
Citations
Citations since 2017
23 Research Items
105 Citations
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Introduction
I'm an urban/political geographer and senior scientist at the Department of Geography at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. I'm interested in micro-geographies of protest and resistance in the runup to the 2024 and 2028 Olympics in Paris and Los Angeles; exploring the urban geopolitics of eastern Ukraine, specifically in reference to the ongoing war with Russia; and managing a database of mega-event impacts for every Olympics, World Cup, and Expo since 1960.

Publications

Publications (30)
Article
Full-text available
Russia’s accelerating authoritarian turn has not ignored the internet, and in recent years, the Russian state has clamped down on internet activities that diverge from the statist line, employing a variety of strategies to dominate online spaces. Nevertheless, oppositional voices flourish on the Russian internet, taking shape in independent blogs a...
Article
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This paper investigates the preparations for the 2018 Men's Football World Cup in Russia through the lens of neoliberal urban entrepreneurialism. Unlike many other mega-events, this World Cup was orchestrated by the central state, though using neoliberal rhetoric to legitimize a wide-ranging urban development program aimed at modernizing peripheral...
Article
Full-text available
Situated at the intersection of the literatures on soft power and mega-events, this paper explains the production and evolution of the dominant narratives behind the 2018 Men's Football World Cup in Russia. It begins from the premise that there are multiple unexplored dimensions to the concept of soft power and proposes three advancements: the exis...
Article
Full-text available
This paper tracks the growth of two of the largest tourist events: the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup, drawing on a dataset containing all events between 1964 and 2018. Overall, the size of the three events has grown about 60-fold over the past 50 years, thirteen times faster than world GDP. We identify an S-shaped growth curve and four d...
Article
Full-text available
Many cities have abandoned plans for hosting the Olympics due to crises of high costs, unnecessary infrastructures, and a range of socio-spatial exclusions. These problems stem from conflicts between the short-term needs of the event and the long-term needs of the city. In response, Olympic organizers launched a series of reforms to improve alignme...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper investigates the adjustments to everyday life among ordinary Swiss residents from a variety of backgrounds after a year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Grounded in an appreciation of the quotidian, the paper explores how pandemic-related disruptions have destabilized the traditional boundaries between work and leisure, producing a blurry every...
Article
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The Olympic Games and the Football World Cups are among the most expensive projects in the world. While available theoretical explanations suggest that the revenues of mega-events are overestimated and the costs underestimated, there is no comprehensive empirical study on whether costs exceed revenues. Based on a custom-built database from public s...
Article
Full-text available
Although events such as the Olympic Games and World’s Fairs are among the largest of mega-projects, there is little systematic data to evaluate their outcomes over a longer period of time and across multiple sites. This research note describes the first longitudinal database on mega-event outcomes. It lays out the rationale and major goals of the d...
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Through an investigation of authoritarian encounters in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine, this paper takes seriously the challenges of making geopolitical sense of contextualised micro moments. Working in a minor key, the paper offers three contributions. First, it advances a minor theory, micropolitical sensibility that interrogates the co-constitutio...
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Mega-events are global affairs with profound effects across a variety of scales, and are the focus of a large and growing body of academic inquiry. This special section in Sports in Society centers on the urban and economic impacts of mega-events on the societies that host them, offering an examination of individual cases and emerging patterns. The...
Article
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The Olympic Games claim to be exemplars of sustainability, aiming to inspire sustainable futures around the world. Yet no systematic evaluation of their sustainability exists. We develop and apply a model with nine indicators to evaluate the sustainability of the 16 editions of the Summer and Winter Olympic Games between 1992 and 2020, representing...
Article
This paper tracks the growth, and recent crisis, of two of the largest tourist events on earth: the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup. It draws on a unique longitudinal dataset that contains 43 events since 1960, with a total cost exceeding USD 120 billion. Overall, the size of the three events has grown about 60-fold over the past 50 years...
Article
Full-text available
As Europe and the wider world struggles with the COVID-19 crisis, I unpack the impacts of the pandemic on the small, wealthy, and diverse nation of Switzerland. Though deeply intertwined with capital flows and global scales, I eschew a high-level view and instead present an analysis from the ground, informed by minor theory. This micropolitical vie...
Article
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The economic crisis since 2010 has affected Russia’s political economy by reducing the income available to fund political loyalty—the key mechanism of neopatrimonialism. Through an investigation of key infrastructure development projects, we examine how this crisis has affected the preparations for the 2018 Football World Cup. In so doing we introd...
Article
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In this study we undertake an analysis of the major transportation projects developed for the 2014 Sochi Games from a materialist perspective. We seek to uncover the degree to which these projects conform or diverge from a series of primary assumptions regarding mega-event related infrastructure projects in recent host cities. In a first moment, we...
Article
This paper argues that the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, represented a soft power attempt to introduce a new conception of “Russian-ness” to both domestic and international audiences. Pre- and post-event attitudes regarding Russia were captured at the international, domestic, and local levels from popular opinion surveys, international and...
Article
Western sanctions have isolated Russia from key international systems. Putting aside controversial questions about Russia's motivations for retaking Crimea, their involvement in the Donbas region, or even the potential for sanctions to bring peace, the west faces unexpected health-related dangers in its pursuit of the politics of isolation.
Article
Mit geschätzt 21 Milliarden US-Dollar wird die Fußball-Weltmeisterschaft (WM) in Russland 2018 die teuerste aller Zeiten werden. Kostenüberschreitungen bereits in dieser frühen Phase lassen jedoch vermuten, dass die Gesamtausgaben am Ende noch deutlich höher ausfallen könnten: Das Budget für die zwölf Stadien ist bereits von anfänglich 2,8 Milliard...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the effects of major infrastructure development for an international mega-event on two villages in rural Russia. The focus is on the experiences of people witnessing these changes firsthand, as Russia prepares to host the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. The work is grounded in field research, 19 ethnographic interviews, and government d...

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