Expertise and Non-binary Bodies: Sex, Gender and the Case of Dutee Chand

Madeleine Laura Pape*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


How do institutions respond to expert contests over epistemologies of sex and gender? In this article, I consider how epistemological ascendancy in debates over the regulation of women athletes with high testosterone is established within a legal setting. Approaching regulation as an institutional act that defines forms of embodied difference, the legitimacy of which may be called into question, I show how sexed bodies are enacted through and as part of determinations of expertise. I focus on proceedings from 2015 when the Court of Arbitration for Sport was asked to decide whether an Indian sprinter, Dutee Chand, could compete as a female athlete. Despite acknowledging that sexed bodies are unruly, the court ultimately endorsed the use of testosterone as seemingly essential to women’s athletic performance, thereby reasserting a two-category model of biological difference. The legitimacy of these regulatory efforts was established through the concurrent narrowing of expertise and the body, a process that is also revealed to be gendered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBody and Society
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • complexity
  • embodiment
  • epistemology
  • expertise
  • regulation
  • science
  • sex
  • sport
  • testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Cultural Studies

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