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Governing (Their) Bodies: A Linguistic Perspective on the Deterrence vs. Education Debate within the Anti-doping Community

Dermot Heaney


Currently, a central debate within the anti-doping community concerns the balance between information used for the purposes of deterrence and/or education. Some experts in the field now claim that there has been overreliance on the former and that substantive educational strategies have not been implemented. Their argument is that the coercive orientation has failed to curb doping among athletes to the desired extent and that the time is ripe for a more educational approach in providing information to athletes about this issue, because in their view the only way to change attitudes to doping is through processes of reach-out, awareness-building and engagement. Despite the obvious centrality of language in the enterprise, be it in a coercive or educational spirit, there is an evident dearth of contributions from linguists to the debate. The following study considers the question from a linguistic perspective. To do this it adopts a corpus linguistic approach. Firstly, it draws on a corpus of anti-doping information available on the websites of five governing bodies and anti-doping agencies, using keyword analysis of lexis to assess the ratio of coercive to educational orientations within the data; secondly, using micro-analysis of the key function word category of pronominal reference, the study identifies both a coercive orientation and a commitment to interaction and engagement in the corpus of texts analysed.


anti-doping campaigns; corpus-assisted analysis; deterrence; education; function words; key words; lexis

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/lcm-2019-001-hean


Lingue Culture Mediazioni - Languages Cultures Mediation
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (27/11/2013 n. 380)
Online ISSN 2421-0293 - Print ISSN 2284-1881

Dipartimento di Scienze della Mediazione Linguistica e di Studi Interculturali
Università degli Studi di Milano

Editors-in-Chief: Paola Catenaccio, Giuliana Garzone
Editors:  Marina Brambilla, Luigi Bruti Liberati, Maria Vittoria Calvi, Gabriella Cartago, Lidia De Michelis, Dino Gavinelli, Marie-Christine Jullion, Alessandra Lavagnino, Chiara Molinari, Giovanni Turchetta.
Sub-Editors: Maria Matilde Benzoni, Paola Cotta Ramusino, Mario De Benedittis, Kim Grego, Giovanna Mapelli, Fabio Mollica, Bettina Marta Mottura, Mauro Giacomo Novelli, Letizia Osti, Maria Cristina Paganoni, Giuseppe Sergio, Virginia Sica, Nicoletta Vallorani.
International Advisory Board: James Archibald (Translation Studies) - Hugo de Burgh (Chinese Media Studies) - Kristen Brustad (Arabic Linguistics) - Daniel Coste (French Language) - Luciano Curreri (Italian Literature) - Claudio Di Meola (German Linguistics) - Donatella Dolcini (Hindi Studies) - Johann Drumbl (German Linguistics) - Denis Ferraris (Italian Literature) - Lawrence Grossberg (Cultural Studies) - Stephen Gundle (Film and Television Studies) - Tsuchiya Junji (Sociology) - John McLeod (Post-colonial Studies) - Estrella Montolío Durán (Spanish Language) - Silvia Morgana (Italian Linguistics) - Samir Marzouki (Translation, Cultural Relations) - Mbare Ngom (Post-Colonial Literatures) - Christiane Nord (Translation Studies) - Roberto Perin (History) - Giovanni Rovere (Italian Linguistics) - Lara Ryazanova-Clarke (Russian Studies) - Shi-Xu (Discourse and Cultural Studies) - Srikant Sarangi (Discourse analysis) - Françoise Sabban, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine (Chinese Studies) - Itala Vivan (Cultural Studies, Museum Studies)

Editor of LCM - The Series: Marie-Christine Jullion

Referee List