Performance Cultures and Doped Bodies

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  • Title: Performance Cultures and Doped Bodies: Challenging Categories, Gender Norms, and Policy Responses
  • Author(s): Jesper Andreasson, April Henning
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Sport & Society
  • Keywords: Doping, Sports doping, Fitness doping, Trajectories, Gender, Body, Policy, Health, Harm reduction
  • Date: May 24, 2021
  • ISBN (hbk): 978-0-949313-99-7
  • ISBN (pbk): 978-1-86335-241-3
  • ISBN (pdf): 978-1-86335-242-0
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Andreasson, Jesper, and April Henning. 2021. Performance Cultures and Doped Bodies: Challenging Categories, Gender Norms, and Policy Responses. Champaign, IL: Common Ground Research Networks. doi:10.18848/978-1-86335-242-0/CGP.
  • Extent: 103 pages

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Why has doping, both as a practice and a social phenomenon, been approached largely as a question of context: sport or fitness? Individuals may use substances to enhance sporting performance or within the framework of gym and fitness culture to create a perfect body. But clearly, people who dope are not bound to a singular context. It is quite the opposite, as individuals weave between and move across various settings in their trajectories to and from doping, as goals, identities, ambitions, and lifestyles change over time. Still, these stark categorizations often made in public discourse – and reinforced by scholars – have continued to ignore these lived experiences and limited our understanding of doping. Building on data gathered through ethnographic fieldwork, studies of online doping communities, and in-depth case studies, this book embraces the challenge of moving beyond traditional and historical doping dichotomies – such as those of sport or fitness, online or offline, pleasure or harm, masculinity or femininity, and health or harm – and, in a sociologically informed analysis, it develops new terminology to understand trajectories to and from doping. It argues there are multiple ways to understand doped bodies and doping practices, and that we must approach these questions from the perspective of both/and rather than either/or. By imploding these divisions, it offers updated and nuanced ways of both empirically and theoretically rethinking doping use and experiences attached to the practice.