The War on Drugs in Sport: Moral Panics and Organizational Legitimacy, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The War on Drugs in Sport

Moral Panics and Organizational Legitimacy, 1st Edition

By Vanessa McDermott


272 pages

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Hardback: 9781138812017
pub: 2015-11-16
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This book is an innovative and compelling work that develops a modified moral panic model illustrated by the drugs in sport debate. Drawing on Max Weber’s work on moral authority and legitimacy, McDermott argues that doping scandals create a crisis of legitimacy for sport governing bodies and other elite groups. This crisis leads to a moral panic, where the issue at stake for elite groups is perceptions of their organizational legitimacy. The book highlights the role of the media as a site where claims to legitimacy are made, and contested, contributing to the social construction of a moral panic. The book explores the way regulatory responses, in this case anti-doping policies in sport, reflect the interests of elite groups and the impact of those responses on individuals, or "folk devils." The War on Drugs in Sport makes a key contribution to moral panic theory by adapting Goode and Ben-Yehuda’s moral panic model to capture the diversity of interests and complex relationships between elite groups. The difference between this book and others in the field is its application of a new theoretical perspective, supported by well-researched empirical evidence.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Locating Legitimacy and Moral Panics 2. Historical Overview: The International Olympic Committee, Legitimacy and Doping 3. The World Anti-Doping Agency: Legitimacy and a Moral Panic 4. The Australian Football League: Legitimating the War on Drugs in Sport 5. Mediating Legitimacy and Moral Panics 6. Legitimacy, Doping and the Grassroots Sporting Community. Conclusion. Appendix 6.1: Interview Research Methodology. Appendix 6.2: Interview Participants: NSOs, Information & Education (n=28).

About the Author

Vanessa McDermott is a Research Fellow at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Social Policy
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology
SPORTS & RECREATION / Sociology of Sports


Watch a recording of the live webinar from March 2015 where Dr Vanessa McDermott discusses how we might tackle the controversial issue of doping in sport.