An exploration of social and cultural aspects of motorcycling during the interwar period

Potter, Christopher Thomas (2007) An exploration of social and cultural aspects of motorcycling during the interwar period. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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Abstract

This thesis covers social and cultural aspects of the motorcycling movement during the interwar period of 1919 to 1939. Using contemporary records of both written and oral nature, a diverse set of themes are explored, beginning with the origins of the motorcycle enthusiasm, from its invention towards the end of the nineteenth century, to the dawn of the twenties, when for a while it held the dominant position in personal motorised transport, until through processes of economics such as the trickle down theory of consumer goods ownership, dominance was transferred to the motorcar. Next, the phenomenon of motorcycling clubs, their composition, practices and distribution, is covered in detail. Turning towards gender issues, the place women held within the movement is discussed. Despite a persistent element of male dominance within the pastime, some women held a prominent position, many achieving fame and acclaim both at a personal and national level. In the next chapter, legislative processes are covered, following governmental and police force involvement in controlling the increasing numbers of motorists of all types. Here, a special study of magistrates' records for the Darlington area provides a snapshot, which complements the national trends. Social class issues regarding the choice of motorized transport are addressed in the next chapter, allowing for a discussion of the wider, national picture and concentrating upon an analysis of the social structure of motorcyclists in the Darlington area, derived from records of registrations of 1920 machines. The motorcycle's place in art and related cultural themes is discussed in chapter six, allowing for analysis of artistic genre such as Futurism, Bauhaus, and other forms of modernist interpretation. Literary links with motorcycling, either through enthusiast journals or mainstream literature is explored, together with film and music, to provide an overview of motorcycling in these themes. Overall, the thesis discusses a wide range of hitherto unexplored themes relating to motorcycling during this era, and attempts to shed new light upon an important set of elements within social and cultural history.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Motorcycling-Social history
Subjects: V100 History by period
V300 History by topic
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Humanities
University Services > Research and Business Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
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Depositing User: EPrint Services
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2010 14:10
Last Modified: 12 May 2017 21:35
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/2509

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