The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies' (TES)
Volume 14, Number 2, 2015

ISSN 1602-2297


Is the Regulation against Potentially Doped Bodies in a Fitness Context
Socially Sustainable?



Nicole Thualagant, Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change, Roskilde University, Denmark, nicole@ruc.dk



Abstract: Denmark is one of the only countries to test members for doping in the fitness centre. Inspired by the Worldwide Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the official recommendation of establishing a doping free sports environment, both among elite sports athletes but also among common users of fitness centres, centres in a ‘sport for all’ context are obliged by the national sports federations to test their members for doping. This paper will discuss the anti-doping policy by underlining two major dilemmas. First, a doping free environment will not be established by solely testing some members. Embedded in an enhancement culture and, thus, in a logic of corporeal optimisation, users of the fitness centres develop different strategies in order to optimise their bodies, often with a desire for ‘more’ or ‘better’ performative health. Second, the actual policy is contradicting one of the basic values promulgated by the clubs offering sport for all; namely, the value of community and the sense of fellowship and shared values these clubs are believed to produce in a local community. By implementing a perspective on social sustainability this paper will explore how a focus on this particular social valorisation of fellowship could inspire the clubs to lead a health promoting policy rather than a policy based on the biomedical concern of prevention.


Key words: health promotion, sport for all, enhancement culture, anti-doping policy, social sustainability.



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