Laboratory production of health and performance: an ethnographic investigation of an exercise physiology laboratory

Gibson, Kass (2018) Laboratory production of health and performance: an ethnographic investigation of an exercise physiology laboratory. Sport in Society. pp. 1-19. ISSN 1743-0437

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Critical scholars of sport and physical culture have devoted significant attention to developing critiques of epistemological hierarchies and the discursive power of biomedical knowledge in sport, exercise and physical activity. However, such work has largely failed to engage in an empirically grounded fashion with the processes of knowledge production. Furthermore, relative to its importance in the creation of knowledge, the laboratory is conspicuous in its absence from both critical discussions and as a site for empirical research. By way of response, this study draws on data collected from over 1000 h of participant observation and 53 semi-structured interviews to explore how underlying political and social values are articulated through relationships between knowledge creation, transfer and claims-making, and specific social frames in exercise physiology, a cornerstone of sports science. Rather than rehearse methodological challenges and critiques, the analysis presented demonstrates, contrary to critical analyses of scientific research that charge biomedical sciences with producing de-contextualised knowledge, laboratory-based sports science is thoroughly contextualised, albeit in specific and nuanced ways. Specifically, exercise physiology knowledge production is characterised by dehumanization and rehumanization processes. The relationship between these processes is not unilinear or sequential, but reciprocal and recursive. Nonetheless, dehumanization is the basis upon which exercise physiology knowledge is made applicable. Rehumanization is how it becomes desirable.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Sport
Depositing User: Ms Alice Primmer
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2018 11:04
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2019 04:50

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