Hybrid bodies in cyborg sports? The case of Oscar Pistorius

Günter, Sandra (May 2014). Hybrid bodies in cyborg sports? The case of Oscar Pistorius. In: Changing Landscapes in Sport: dynamics, hybridities and resistance. Book of Abstracts. 11th European Association for Sociology of Sport Conference (EASS) (p. 90). European Association for Sociology of Sport (eass)

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The capabilities of postmodern biotechnology inevitably lead to questioning if it is morally acceptable to use all possibilities offered by technology. In sport, this very complex issue is dealt with by drawing clear boundaries between naturalness and artificiality.
Currently, new biotechnology is constantly being produced and with this, boundaries between naturalness and artificiality, between normal and abnormal, human and hybrid are constantly shifting . “Human enhancement” is a fascinating prism that reflects contemporary questions of participation, justice, equality and the autonomy of the subject in all social fields. The area of elite sports is particularly affected by “human enhancement”, according to the principle of exceeding what has come before, of aiming higher, faster and further.
This paper analyses the postulated “naturalness” in the regulative and normalising function in the area of elite sports, in connection with Foucault’s theory of governmentality.
The example of the South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius appears to be particularly suited to illustrate current definition difficulties in the area of disabled and non-disabled people in differentiated competitive sports. His is a vivid example of a multifaceted body-sociological analysis of current sport culture and the construction of reality or naturalness in the framework of the discourse of drafting and negotiating the accreditation for sprint competitions of non-disabled athletes, most recently in the London Olympics 2012.
Using the case study of Oscar Pistorius, the negotiating processes in relation to the argumentation logic, dynamics and resistance in shifting distinctions are presented in detail using the fundamental documents of the IOC, IPC, CAS and IAAF. Represented through the inclusion and exclusion processes are hierarchies of the body that are (re)consolidated and transformed. The central question emerges as to how the worth of equal opportunity and fairness in regard to “naturalness” can be reconsolidated or transformed.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Sociology and Management

UniBE Contributor:

Günter, Sandra


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology


European Association for Sociology of Sport (eass)




Rahel Spring

Date Deposited:

03 Jun 2014 15:35

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:34





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