In everyday communication, participants can critically explore their understanding of morally complex phenomena. There has been little effort within the social sciences to provide insight into whether and how athletes communicate among themselves about morally contested topics. This study attempts to fill this gap in the literature. Through focus group interviews and with the help of Goffman’s frame analysis, we explore how a group of young, Norwegian road cyclists communicates about doping. The article demonstrates that this communication is strongly norm-regulated and often appears as brief, assertive, and evasive. We show how the communication reflects a hegemonic discourse of doping as immoral and inexcusable. We conclude that this discourse limits explorative communication and may limit young athletes’ preparation for doping-related dilemmas and social pressures.
The authors are with the Norwegian School of Sport Science, Department of Cultural and Social Studies, Oslo, Norway.