Fighting the legacy: British bikers in the 1990s

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This working paper focuses on police actions involving meetings of motorcyclists at a public house in Warwickshire, where police mobilisation resulted in a national outcry among motorcyclists against what was perceived as unnecessary police harassment. Through the detailing of the confrontation it shall be shown how the reactions by motorcyclists were centred not only around actual events but also around perceptions of negative myths about 'bikers' prevalent in society. In order to examine the basis of riders' claims, an exploration will be made of the available socio-economic statistics for the industry to highlight the disjuncture between popular images of 'bikers' and the actuality of the motorcycling profile. It is argued that the complex social identities portrayed by the motorcyclists are based on a social composition at odds with popular perception. Further, it is indicated how events may function on both political: and cultural levels, carrying implications for future sociological analyses of social movement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-396
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Bikers
  • Collective action
  • Identity
  • Myth
  • New social movements
  • Postmodernism


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