Doping, integrity and credibility of sports organizations

Head: Fabien Ohl

The research focuses on sports organizations and on the value of sports performance. At the intersection of the sociologies of sport, work, gender and science, two levels of analysis can be distinguished in this field of research.

The first focuses on the "social performance" of sports organizations by taking the question of integrity, and in particular that of doping, as a field of investigation. This line of research approaches the organizations in charge of regulation as "trust devices" intended to maintain the value of sports events. Indeed, the sensitivity of sports organizations to issues of doping and integrity is strong because they threaten the symbolic foundations of the sports economy. It is an approach that aims to better understand the quest for credibility, recurrently reasserted by sports organizations with the help of communication devices that rely on sciences, law, norms or values. Specifically, one aspect focuses on how science and technology are used as part of the organizations’ policy-making processes, to both define and showcase what is to be counted as a legitimate performance in their sport.  

The second level of analysis focuses on the production of physical/body capital and the mechanisms for recognizing the value of performance. The research deals with the working conditions of athletes, their vulnerability and the credit or discredit, notably due to doping, that is attributed to their performances. Beyond the role of anti-doping organizations in the credit given to sports performances, it is more broadly a question of identifying the respective contributions of sports organizations, coaches, the media and the public to the production and conversion of physical/body capital. More specifically, the research deals with the differential conversions of the value of performances, notably between men and women.


Researchers at UNIL Position
Benjamin Carr Assistant
Pr Fabien Ohl Full professor
Dr Lucie Schoch Senior lecturer
Dr Marjolaine Viret Junior lecturer