An Analysis of Governance Failure and Power Dynamics in International Sport: The Russian Doping Scandal
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 18:11 authored by Spencer Harris, Mathew Dowling, Barrie Houlihan
International sport is inherently political. Its governance structures are complex involving a multiplicity of actors. Its foundation is traditional, centred on ideas about self-governance and autonomy while simultaneously challenged by the contradictory requirements to promote and regulate sport. The politics of international sport can be seen in the authoritative allocation of values, the collective action necessary to determine who gets what, when and how, and ultimately being clear about who cares about what, where and why. It is in this setting where the concept of power and the ability of agents to exercise power is particularly insightful in garnering a more nuanced understanding of the systemic governance of international sport. To this end, this study examines power relations in international sport by applying Bergsgard’s analytical framework, which adapts Lukes’ three faces of power and Bourdieu’s ideas about symbolic power, to the Russian Doping Scandal. Documentary analysis is used as the primary method of exploration. Our analysis illustrates how the deep structures of the Russian state and the structural conditions of the international sport governance field permitted the case to evolve to scandalous proportions. The paper also reveals the power dynamics between various stakeholders involved in the scandal and how these power dynamics led to failings in the governance of international sport.
Publication titleInternational Journal of Sport Policy and Politics
PublisherTaylor & Francis
- Accepted version