Amateurism, scientific control, and crime: historical fluctuations in anti-doping discourses in sport

Published date12 March 2018
Date12 March 2018
AuthorIan Ritchie,Kathryn Henne
Subject MatterHealth & social care,Criminology & forensic psychology
Amateurism, scientific control, and crime:
historical fluctuations in anti-doping
discourses in sport
Ian Ritchie and Kathryn Henne
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to assess the institutional mechanisms for combating doping in high-level
sport, including the trend toward using legalistic frameworks, and how they contribute to notions of deviance.
Design/methodology/approach A historical approach informed by recent criminological adaptations of
genealogy was utilized, using primary and secondary sources.
Findings Three time periods involving distinct frameworks for combating doping were identified, each with
their own advantages and limitations: pre-1967, post-1967 up until the creation of the World Anti-Doping
Agency in 1999, and post-1999.
Originality/value This study contextualizes the recent legalistic turn toward combating doping in sport,
bringing greater understanding to the limitations of present anti-doping practices.
Keywords Deviance,Anti-doping discourses, Combating doping, Criminological adaptations of genealogy,
Doping in sport, Limitations of anti-doping practices
Paper type Research paper
The use of a banned performance-enhancing substance, in the context of modern, high
performance sport, is often framed as a deviant act. To dopeis considered cheating by most
sports fans, many athletes, and certainly by the highest anti-doping regulative bodies in the
world. Regulators have cast doping as much worse than cheating, characterizing it as a threat to
the very integrity, if not existence, of sport (see Henne, 2010). The highest anti-doping body
internationally, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) makes this clear in its World Anti-Doping
Code (hereafter Code), which sets out the standards and rationale for anti-doping programs
worldwide. The 2015 third version of the Code states, Anti-doping programs seek to preserve
what is intrinsically valuable about sport. This intrinsic value is often referred to as the spirit of
sport’” (WADA, 2015, p. 14). This purist justification for anti-doping regulation that doping is
contrary to essentialvalues of sport has been in all three versions of the Code since the first
one created in 2003. In this paper, we ask: how did these judgments become embedded
in discourse?
The assertion that sport itself risks collapse because of the use of performance-enhancing
substances is hardly new. Writing in Olympic Review in 1967, the head of International Olympic
Committee (IOC) press and public relations (and soon to be IOC Director), Monique Berlioux
(1967) presented doping as one of the greatest dangers that the Olympic Games have yet met
and athletes who doped as the enemy of sport(p. 2). Moving much further back in time, IOC
president and Belgian aristocrat Henri de Baillet-Latour, in one of the first statements against
doping by a major sport administrator, claimed in a 1937 letter that amateur sport is meant
to improve the soul and the body [and] therefore no stone must be left unturned as long as the
use of doping has not been stamped out(cited in Gleaves and Llewellyn, 2014, p. 847).
Ian Ritchie is an Associate
Professor at the Department of
Kinesiology, Brock University,
St Catharines, Canada.
Kathryn Henne is an Associate
Professor at the Department of
Sociology and Legal Studies,
University of Waterloo,
Waterloo, Canada; and is at the
School of Regulation and
Global Governance, The
Australian National University,
Canberra, Australia.
VOL. 4 NO. 1 2018, pp.18-29, © Emerald Publishing Limited, ISSN 2056-3841 DOI 10.1108/JCRPP-01-2018-0003

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