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Title: Rebels of the road : a sociological analysis of Aberdeen's "boy racer" culture and the societal reaction to their behaviour
Author: Lumsden, Karen
ISNI:       0000 0004 2682 8375
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis is a sociological investigation into Aberdeen’s ‘boy racer’ culture and the reaction it has provoked amongst various outside groups.  Ethnographic research was conducted which included participant observation and semi-structured interviews with members of the subculture.  The attitudes of outside groups were explored though semi-structured interviews with police officers, journalists, residents and politicians; and content analysis of media articles, council reports and statistics.  The first strand of the research involves an exploration of the internal dynamics of the ‘boy racer’ culture.  Here, I explore the rituals engaged in by members of the culture which include car modification, subcultural media and events, their appropriation of public space and the quest for celebrity status.  The thesis also addresses the role of gender within a male-dominated culture.  Conflict within the subculture is also explored using the notion of respectability.  Participants viewed themselves as respectable members of the culture in contrast to the ‘rough racers’.  This respectability related to the pride they took in their cars and driving skills, and their adherence to societal laws and subcultural norms.  In the second strand of the thesis I argue that the reaction to Aberdeen’s ‘boy racer’ culture is evidence of a local moral panic.  The threat posed by the drivers’ presence at Aberdeen’s seafront was exaggerated and distorted by members of the outside groups, including in particular, the local media.  Moreover, the moral panic concerning deviant driving practices by youths was institutionalized through the use of powers under the Antisocial Behaviour etc.(Scotland) Act 2004.  Members of the culture in Aberdeen attempted to distance themselves from the ‘boy racer’ label and instead viewed themselves as car modifiers or enthusiasts.  Ironically, the space used to express their opinions – their own forms of subcultural media, also became the focus of the moral panic.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Teenage boys ; Automobile drivers