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Doping : Sports, Organizations and Sciences

University of Lausanne via Coursera


The objective of this course is to encourage a critical understanding of doping. To achieve this goal, this course will rely on a multidisciplinary approach that allow you to see how different disciplines get into a single object, in different perspectives and in often complementary ways. This approach will also allow us to appreciate the complexity of a subject like doping. Doping in sports is a complex practice whose definition and identification is the result of socially and historically constructed norms. This course offers to shed light on the processes that led to the use and prohibition of doping substances. Performance enhancement or physical transformation are two aspects of doping which are seen as problematic, yet even as we speak companies are making fortunes selling body improvement and other forms of “human enhancement” to us. These apparent contradictions will be analysed to show that beyond sanitary questions, doping raises many social, scientific and legal issues. In efforts to control doping, governments and sports authorities have put into place institutions responsible for defining what falls into the category of doping, but also what prevention, repressions and research methods to put into effect. This course will also explore biological control measures such as the biological passport, key legal dimensions, organisations that produce performance, as well as the sociological dimensions of doping. Besides the Professors of University of Lausanne, the best experts of doping are involved in this course: experts from an Anti-doping Laboratory (LAD- Lausanne-Switzerland), from the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport), from the UEFA (soccer), and from the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). Teaser: Main Learning Outcomes At the end of the course the participants will be able to : 1. Identify the “cultural” dimension of doping, that is as a historical practice linked to the transformation of social norms, 2. Go from a binary way of thinking - for or against doping - to an understanding of the complexity of this phenomenon which is biological, psychological and sociological, all at the same time, 3. Recognize the institutions, the actors and the practices of the fight against doping, 4. Explain how the social and organisational context influences individuals decisions and how this influence can be reduced by effective prevention measures, 5. Identify how the fight against doping is led and how testing is carried out.


  • Module 1- What is doping ?
    • The first module explores the identification and the definition of doping. It offers a critical approach inspired by social science methods, so as to understand doping as a social norm that shapes performance producing. We will take a look at definitions of doping throughout history as well as the legal definition that is used today, the one put into place by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA).
  • Module 2- Why do athletes give in to doping?
    • By going beyond a binary vision that opposes those who cheat and those who don’t, Module 2 will help you understand what might lead ordinary individuals into substance-use. The analysis of the process that lead to doping will be approached through the social and psycho-social factors behind doping, as well as the role of culture and of sports organisations will be raised. This module includes an interview with Denis Hauw, sports psychology expert and Associate Professor at the Institute of Sport Studies at the University of Lausanne.
  • Module 3 - Organizations and doping: prevention and repression
    • Module 3 will help you understand the role of sports organisations in the fight against doping through two examples: the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). This module will also explore the role of organisations in charge of fighting against doping, by presenting two major actors: the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) whose activities are also linked to doping. These organisations will be presented through four interviews with: Frédéric Donzé, the director of the European branch of the WADA ; Marc Vouillamoz, Head of UEFA's antidoping unit ; Matthieu Reeb, the Secretary general of the CAS; Olivier Aubel, Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Sport Studies the the University of Lausanne, who will present the new measures put into place by the UCI to prevent doping in cycling.
  • Module 4 - Bioanalytical and forensic approaches to doping
    • Module four presents bioanalytical and forensic substance detection and analysis methods. It is made up of 4 interviews carried out with doping experts from the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analysis (LAD) in Lausanne (Switzerland), that will explain: - how bioanalyses are carried out (Norbert Baume, head scientist at the LAD); - how the biological passport works (Neil Robinson, head scientist at the LAD); - forensic approaches to doping (François Marclay, research scientist at the LAD); - atypical analysis results and the evolution of the future of the fight against doping (Martial Saugy, director of the LAD).

Taught by

Fabien Ohl


4.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.6 rating at Coursera based on 333 ratings

Start your review of Doping : Sports, Organizations and Sciences

  • Mohamed Abdulahi Ahmed
    I very interested to learn anti doping for relate sports
    Because our country doesn't have doping control
    That is why to choose this course

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