Mass culture, subcultures and multiculturalism: How theory can help us understand cycling practice
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractIn recent years we have become accustomed to speaking of cycling cultures, but frequently without really examining what we really mean by ‘culture’ in this context. This lecture explores what insights into cycling practices can be gained from the work of social scientists who have concentrated on the topic of culture in their work. On closer examination, we can see how issues of power, legitimacy, inclusion and conflict have been central to the study of popular cultures and the presentation is designed to show how these themes can help us better to understand, and therefore respond to, the problems of advocacy. In particular, the lecture addresses how shared practices and common cultures relate to the process of social change and the formation of social movements. Herbert Blumer (1939) classically defined social movements as “collective enterprises to establish a new order of life. They have their inception in the condition of unrest, and derive their motive power on one hand from dissatisfaction with the current form of life, and on the other hand, from wishes and hopes for a new scheme or system of living”. Asserting that the work of cycle advocacy is an attempt to establish a new order of mobile life where the cycle is no longer subordinate to the car, the lecture poses the central question of whether there is, or can be, a collective enterprise with a shared culture among the myriad of different cycling practices. Using insights from multicultural feminism, it points towards the possibility of building of alliances between groups while maintaining their diversity, showing that it is possible to work actively for change without compromising differences and even conflicts of interests between a variety of different groups.
CitationConference paper given at Velo-City 2013 - The sound of cycling: Urban cycling cultures in Vienna, Austria, 11-14 June 2013
CollectionsSocial and Political Science
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