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Vagabond MC. Gemenskap, manlighet och marginalitet. En studie av en västsvensk bikerklubb.

by Grundvall, Stig, PhD

Abstract (Summary)
The global objective with this ethnographic (culture) study is to examine the social patterns and significant structures in a local (West Swedish) biker club. A newly formed club, Vagabond MC, constitutes my primary research object and is at the same time my entrance into the biker culture, generally speaking. I have used a qualitative method consisting of two years´ participatory observations in said biker club and 21 interviews with bikers and other people with great cultural insights. A historical retrospect ? international as well as national and local ? constitutes a context for the newly formed biker club Vagabond MC. The empirical part is composed of fragments from the club activities, including descriptions of biker outings, garage activities, parties, meetings, birthdays, construction work on a new club house etc. The significant structures of the biker culture are discussed based on the social order that forms both the club community and the contact with the other biker clubs. However, the bikers´ construction of meaning and ethos must also be considered through an interpretation of the symbolic patterns that compose the mainstay of the bikers´ world of symbols. My interpretation of the signs and symbols in the biker culture indicate that they constitute a mythological web which reinforces the social order both within the biker culture and outside in its relation to the surrounding society. All-pervading themes in the study are: Community, masculinity and marginality. The community in the biker club expresses a need for protection and support and constitutes a basis from which they orient themselves in the surrounding world. The masculinity is characterized by a legitimacy and possibility to give full expression to the sides of their own personality which are not always vented in other contexts. A marginal existence is in some aspects a result from social processes leading to exclusion through social shortcomings, however, it is also an arena that in a sense is chosen and which may be charged and turned exciting. This study is balancing two opposite perspectives. The first is a structural perspective, where changes in society, unemployment, marginal positions etc. have turned people into bikers and made them (often) end up in exposed situation. The second perspective is more intention and action oriented. It is based on the assumption that bikers are both reflecting and creative (persons).
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Göteborgs universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:SOCIAL SCIENCES; Social sciences; Social work; Culture studies; theory on modernity; male community; marginalization; brotherhood

ISBN:91-86796-53-4

Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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