Governing sporting brains: concussion, neuroscience, and the biopolitical regulation of sport

Hardes, J. (2017) Governing sporting brains: concussion, neuroscience, and the biopolitical regulation of sport. Sport, Ethics and Philosophy. ISSN 1751-1321.

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Abstract

Drawing on the recent concussion litigation from the United States’ National Football League (NFL) the paper examines the emergence of neuroscience knowledge as part of a defining justification of the lawsuit. The paper argues that neuroscience knowledge is best understood as a regulatory discourse that is attached to larger social, political, and economic realities that bring it into being as a legitimate type of knowledge. This larger socio-political governance logic is one that scholars call ‘biopolitical’ which emphasizes the protection of individual life over and above other ways of being. Risk discourses that frame risk taking practices as immoral thus emerge within this biopolitical regime of governance that frame morality in terms of public health that individual citizens ought to pursue. With this in mind neuroscience knowledge plays an important role in concussion litigation. It emerges as a technology of biopolitical governance in that it is used to justify legal decisions on concussion. This is despite the fact that neuroscience knowledge remains nascent and even scientifically uncertain. Because of this, the paper argues that scholars ought to not only consider neuroscience research skeptically, but also ought to be aware of the dangers of neuroscience's emergence as an ‘anticipatory discourse’ that has the potential to reduce human behaviour to matters of the brain that thus transforms our very ontology of ourselves and the practices we perceive as ‘good’.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics > BJ0001 Ethics (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0706.5 Sports sociology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
K Law > K Law (General)
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology
Depositing User: Dr Jennifer Hardes
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2017 12:52
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2017 12:02
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/15370

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00