Graduation Year

2016

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Diane Price-Herndl, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Julie Staggers, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Meredith Johnson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David Rubin, Ph.D.

Keywords

feminist critical discourse analysis, health and medical rhetorics, health communication, medical rhetoric, technical communication, women’s studies

Abstract

In 2011 the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) published the Regulations on Hyperandrogenism, a health policy banning female athletes from track and field competition if their natural levels of testosterone were found to be higher than those of most female athletes. In 2014, Dutee Chand, a sprinter from India, was banned from competition based on these regulations. She appealed her ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and as a result the 2011 IAAF Hyperandrogenism Regulations were suspended for two years. The issues at stake in the suspension of these regulations are, at their core, rhetorical issues related to health and medical technical communication: how information about health and medicine is communicated to stakeholders, the ethics of such communication, and the implications of such communication. They are also issues related to the medical regulation of sex and gender: Chand’s case is the latest in a history of sex verification testing of elite female athletes that began well before 2011. In this study I use feminist critical discourse analysis methods within the computer assisted qualitative analysis software program NVivo to analyze the 2011 IAAF Hyperandrogenism Regulations and the transcript of the CAS Award that suspended them. I argue that the 2011 IAAF Regulations and the CAS Award are an example of what I describe as a closed, Foucauldian system, which is not open to outside voices, stakeholders, expertise, or evidence. I also argue for the use of a heuristic alongside a feminist technical communication perspective on health and medical rhetorics that technical communicators might use to insert themselves into closed Foucauldian systems such as this one in order to enact positive change.

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