Sports scandals are often discussed in the media and the research literature without any deeper reflections on their specificities or development. As the economic and political significance of sport seems to grow in correspondence to the development of globalization, the call for a sociological understanding of the downsides of sport becomes imperative. By deploying a communication-theoretical framework (Luhmann) combined with insights from discourse theory (Laclau, Laclau & Mouffe) and the understanding of ideal types (provided by Weber), this article aims to develop a theoretical model of the sports scandal, its outset, development and effects. Our work presents a five-step model encompassing: initial steps of transgression (1), followed by a publicly observed dislocation destabilizing the social order (2), which subsequently results in moral communication (3), environmental pressure for appropriate action (4), and, finally, an institutional solution (5).The scope of the model is tested in the analysis of two cases. Finally three working hypotheses are outlined for future research.
Scandals; Systems Theory; Discourse Theory; Communication; Expectations; Dislocation