Gene-talk and sport-talk: A talk from the radical middle ground

H. Sheridan, B. Pasveer, I.M. van Hilvoorde

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    In this paper, we explore and reflect critically on what elite sport may expect or fear from genetic technologies. In particular, we explore the language in which we (where "we" denotes scientists, sports scientists, the media, sports coaches, academics) tend to speak about genetics, elite sport, and the human body - we call this language "gene-talk" - which imagines the world of elite sport as one in which genes were always dominant in athletic performance. The dominant question here seems to be whether what is thought to be possible ought to be, and can be realized. We unpack the question by asking whether the practices needed for genetics to intervene so powerfully in elite sport exist in the straightforward and uncomplicated manner that the "gene-talk" literature seems to suggest. We argue that there is a lack of relevant studies to support and analyse the notion of sports performance as an immensely rich and complex practice.We conclude that elite sport may be more complex and heterogeneous than "gene-talk" has imagined to date.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)223-30
    JournalEuropean Journal of Sport Science
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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