Riding the borderlands: The negotiation of social and cultural boundaries for Rio Grande Valley and southwestern motorcycling groups, 1900--2000

Gary L Kieffner, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

This dissertation presents an analysis and interpretation of particular aspects of the social, cultural, and ideological history of motorcycling in the US-Mexican Borderlands from 1900 to 2000. It is based on interviews with historical correspondents, archival and other documents as well as thirty years of participant reflection during which the author was immersed in biker culture. The motorcycle served as a vehicle for personal and group identity, resistance, and liberation. Issues related to identity, gender, race, marginalization and resistance, imagery, and rhetoric become clearer when considering the perspective of riders. This study surveys interactive processes that occurred between historic motorcyclists, social, corporate and state structures. While distinct, long-lasting mores and norms emerged and crystallized into a riding culture, mass media and other centers of power constructed an imagined biker throughout the century. Meanwhile, the riding community interacted with larger ideological and social constructs and cultural practices. This dissertation highlights a hundred years of motorcycling history and its relevance.^

Subject Area

History, Latin American|History, United States|Transportation

Recommended Citation

Kieffner, Gary L, "Riding the borderlands: The negotiation of social and cultural boundaries for Rio Grande Valley and southwestern motorcycling groups, 1900--2000" (2009). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3358876.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3358876

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