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Title: Myth and reality in the motorcycle subculture
Author: Harris, Ian Richard
ISNI:       0000 0001 3534 483X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1986
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Divided into two parts, the thesis seeks to provide a detailed explanation for the emergence and historical development of the outlaw motorcycle subculture as well as the essential structural and ideological focii which underpin the phenomenon in its contemporary form. Part I charts the progressive expansion from its initial appearance as a specifically distinct form of deviant subculture in Southern California in the latter part of the 1950s to what is today an extremely prolific international, intergenerational and largely interracial mass subculture. Focussing upon the different stages which have characterised the subculture's process of solidification, it examines the series of media-induced moral panics which have periodically elevated it to public prominence and makes intelligible the complex interrelationship between the various disparate contextual strands which have over time coalesced to form that broad strata of motorcycle-borne folk devil ubiquitously and invariably erroneously described as 'Hells Angels'. Part II cuts through the heavily myth-laden skin of the contemporary outlaw motorcycle subculture as it exists in its archetypical form throughout the world, exposing the no less rich layers of subcultural activity underneath. Commencing with an analysis of the genesis of and quasi-criminal in-group behaviour common to that highly-ritualised and tightly-knit subcultural formation, the one-percenter outlaw motorcycle club, it examines the symbolic order of meaning which gives substance to the lives of the membership, looks at the collective decision-making processes which ensure internal solidity, and charts the career pattern of a would-be club member from casual 'hangaround' to full blown 1%er. The remainder of Part II still further separates the myth from the reality by breaking down the very potent barriers of popular imagery which have hitherto so successfully rendered all previous sociological accounts of the outlaw motorcycle subculture absolutely meaningless. It looks at the spheres of politics, race, sex and crime and re-evaluates conventional wisdom on biker attitudes to and involvement in each.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare