Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Making sense of motorcycle brotherhood: Women, branding, and construction of self
by Maas, Kimberly, M.A., Minnesota State University, Mankato, 2013, 134; 1545878
Abstract (Summary)

This project focused on the motorcycle culture as evidenced in the definition of motorcycling brotherhood, the role of women in motorcycle culture, branding, and construction of self-identity. This study is intended to provide an in-depth analysis of these four areas for every-day bikers rather than outlaw motorcycle gangs. Previous research to date has focused on the culture and context of brotherhood among outlaw motorcycle gangs.

I use these four sections to determine what the everyday bikers understanding of brotherhood is, what women's current place is in motorcycle culture compared to men, the effects of branding and logos on motorcyclists, and how motorcyclists create their selfhood based upon these brands and logos. I attempt to determine if alienation is a prevalent theme or theory for the everyday biker. I found that out of 21 respondents interviewed, 10 Harley Riders and 11 non-Harley Riders, social psychology is a more prevalent explanation for why motorcyclists choose to ride.

Most of the bikers I interviewed stated that they ride because it provided a sense of adventure, it could free their mind temporarily, it felt like freedom, they felt like one with nature or the world, it was a great hobby, and most of all it allowed them to practice and share in social relationships. I also found that while women riders have grown in numbers over the years, patriarchy still exists and masculinity still dominates the motorcycling scene. Brotherhood is also found to be related to the biker code. Overall, motorcyclists still believed it is important to help out their fellow brother on two wheels rather than to worry about the brand of bike or type of bike they ride.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Boyd, Emily
Commitee: Prew, Paul, Sandell, Elizabeth
School: Minnesota State University, Mankato
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: MAI 52/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Social structure, Gender studies
Keywords: Brotherhood, Concept of brotherhood, Every-day biker, Gender, Motorcycle culture, Motorcycling
Publication Number: 1545878
ISBN: 978-1-303-43120-3
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