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Spectators’ negotiations of risk, masculinity and performative mobilities at the TT Races

Terry, A., Maddrell, A. ORCID:, Gale, T. and Arlidge, S. (2015) Spectators’ negotiations of risk, masculinity and performative mobilities at the TT Races. Mobilities, 10 (4). pp. 628-648. ISSN 17450101

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/17450101.2014.895175


This paper explores the particular assemblage of place, event and individual identity performances that occur each year in the Isle of Man in and through the TT (Tourist Trophy) motorcycle races. These road races are associated with a high degree of risk for the racers and the confluence of over 30,000 visitors and 10,000 motorcycles also presents poten-tial risks for spectators and residents alike. Both motorcycling and risk-taking have been associated with particular forms of masculinity, notably hegemonic, working class and youthful masculinities. Using detailed surveys of spectators we argue that the TT races, while undoubtedly dominated by men and predicated on a cultural privileging of speed and skill,are grounded in varying combinations of determinate and reflexive attitudes to risk, reflecting the performance of a variety of gendered, ‘biker’ and wider identity-based positionalities. Findings also highlight a particular inter-relation of mobilities and place identities at the TT races and bring to light the highly significant and under-researched embodied, performative and emotional mobilities of spectators. The conceptual and methodological importance of (a)situated research of mobilities in specific place-temporalities and (b) wider surveys of motorcyclists to complement ethnographic studies of small cohorts are also stressed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:75483
Uncontrolled Keywords:mobilities masculinity risk speed motorcycles Isle of Man spectator performative
Publisher:Taylor & Francis


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