Er dopingerfaringer forbeholdt lavtuddannede? Doping som en social praktik


  • Inge Kryger Pedersen
  • Lars Benjaminsen



Inge Kryger Pedersen and Lars Benjaminsen: Bulked-up bodies and education: Doping as a social practice During the last decades sociological analyses have interpreted doping and use of performance-enhancing substances as a social phenomenon mainly in the field of sports. In this article, logistic regression analyses of a questionnaire survey conducted among a random sample of the Danish population between the ages of 15-50 (2003 respondents) and persons engaged in different types of sports and exercise activities in Denmark (5036 respondents) show that pharmacological methods (medicines, drugs) have been adopted by trained, physically fit individuals outside sports. Studies indicate that experiences with performance-enhancing substances outside – and not within – competi¬ti¬ve sports are socially stratified. Use of anabolic steroids in gyms is prevalent among men with little or no education. This article looks at these observable variations in social position by drawing upon Bourdieu’s analysis of the logic of practice, his concepts of practical sense and the search for social distinction in the construction of life-styles. Despite certain limitations regarding issues of agency, it is argued that drug use outside the sphere of competitive sport can be viewed as a bodily practice related to social parameters such as the level of education. Use of doping substances outside the sphere of sport is re¬-lated to aesthetic modification, whereas doping in organised competitive sports primarily intends to enhance various physiological parameters. These para¬meters are related both to the specific skills required for the sport and to the logic of competition. This might explain why doping experiences in competitive sports do not seem to be stratified by education.