Doped and Dangerous: A Cartography of Anti-doping Practices as Biopolitical Regimes of Governing

Peter Hørlück Jessen

Student thesis: Master thesis


In the wake of governmental organisations such as World Anti-Doping Agency and Anti Doping Danmark, athletes are attempted protected against relations of domination as well as substances and methods believed to undermine a fundamental human nature. Accordingly, the WADA-CODE establishes what doping is when including substances and methods in the Prohibited List. Furthermore the WADA-CODE determines the means and techniques through which athletes can be protected against doping. Anti Doping Danmark is by law established to promote doping-free sports as well as to implement the WADA-CODE in the advanced liberal society of Denmark.
Due to an extensive focus on an obvious need for a protection of clean sports as a moral right, a question of the threshold between sovereign forms power and individual freedom poses itself. This thesis thus explore the question of ‘how governmental rationalities, seeking empowerment of top- level athletes based on a concept of human nature, harness into existence and reproduce the making and management of ‘doped’ and ‘clean’ subjectivities in an advanced liberal society such as Denmark?
Taking point of departure in the WADA-CODE and the law to promote doping-free sports from 2005, the purpose of this thesis is to explore the effects and side effects of anti-doping practices seeking to protect and empower top-level athletes in sports.
By employing the Foucauldian notion of biopolitics and inscribing into it the Althussarian concept of ‘spontaneous’ ideologies of scientific practices as well as the Goffmanian notion of looping effects this thesis lays forth a particular analytical framework. It attempts to denaturalise the constitution of ‘clean’ and doped subjectivities by analysing an anti-doping order where liberal and sovereign forms of power operate based on a concept of a human nature as both finite and imponderable.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages92
SupervisorsMitchell Dean