The spectacle of major cultural and sporting events can preoccupy modern societies. This book is concerned with contemporary mega-events, like the Olympics and Expos. Using a sociological perspective Roche argues that mega-events reflect the major social changes which now influence our societies, particularly in the West, and that these amount to a new 'second phase' of the modernization process. Changes are particularly visible in the media, urban and global locational aspects of mega-events. Thus he suggests that contemporary mega-events, both in their achievements and their vulnerabilities, reflect, in the media sphere, the rise of the internet; in the urban sphere, de-industrialisation and the growing ecological crisis; and in the global sphere, the relative decline of the West and the rise of China and other 'emerging' countries. -- .