Accepted paper:

Negotiating power and knowledge: how recreational bodybuilders negotiate the knowledge divides created by state legislation of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs)

Author:

Mair Underwood (The University of Queensland)

Paper short abstract:

State prohibition hinders PIED users' access to health information and medical services. This paper describes how users negotiate legislative barriers and the power relations that result from differentially valued forms of PIED knowledge to create their own strategies to reduce harm.

Paper long abstract:

In Australia performance and image enhancing drugs (PIED) are classed alongside heroin, cocaine and ice in the highest category of dangerous illicit drugs, despite evidence that suggests that the risks to users and society posed by PIED use is dwarfed by the harms of these other drugs. State legislation prohibiting use is currently hindering PIED users access to health information and medical services that they could use to reduce harm. This paper presents the results of an ethnography conducted both online and offline (in Australia) with members of the largest group of PIED users: recreational bodybuilders (i.e. those who do not intend to compete in sport or bodybuilding competitions). The study approaches both PIEDs, and PIED-related knowledge, as having social lives i.e. as taking on meaning through social relations and having implications for these relations. In the absence of public health messages that resonate with their experiences and practices, people who use PIEDs recreationally have developed harm minimisation strategies that combine mainstream health science, with the experiential knowledge of bodybuilders ('broscience', a type of 'folk pharmacology'). This paper focuses on how recreational PIED users, conceptualise the risks they face, and negotiate the power relations that result from differentially valued forms of PIED knowledge.

panel P38
Embodied rituals, symbols and performances: embodiment as a negotiation of the state, and state negotiations of embodiment