Doped: The Politics of Innovation and Gender in Australian Horseracing 1947–1955

By Christopher Kremmer.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society, Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: June 15, 2016 $US5.00

This descriptive historical paper on science technology innovation (STI) is based on a case study of early efforts to combat the use of performance drugs in sport. Informed by Process Theory (PT), it explores the politics of STI and gender in Australia in 1947, when the Australian Jockey Club established the country’s first world-class drug-testing laboratory for horseracing. The impact of the innovation was magnified by the decision to appoint a woman to head the lab. Jean Kimble was a qualified chemist whose work on alkaloids equipped her to detect caffeine, morphine, and cocaine in samples taken from horses. But in 1955, despite support from international colleagues, she was stripped of her role as Official Analyst following a concerted campaign by racing’s stakeholders to question her competence, a process that involved cross-examination in open tribunals that attracted extensive media coverage. While there have been multiple studies exploring the history of doping in sport, there is a lack of research on stakeholders involved within the processes. This article, based on new primary sources and extensive archival research, sees the Kimble case as one of enduring relevance for scholars of the science/society interface. It argues that, far from being a dull and conformist time, the 1940s and 1950s were an important period in which later concerns about gender equity in the sciences, the politics of innovation, and the difficulties faced by scientists in communicating their work became palpable in the lives of those actively involved in science technology innovation.

Keywords: Process Theory, History of Science, Women in Science, Communication of Science

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 8, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.15-27. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: June 15, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 762.684KB)).

Dr. Christopher Kremmer

Senior Lecturer, School of the Arts and Media, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia