Skills in motion: boys’ trail motorbiking activities as transitions into working-class masculinity in a post-industrial locale

Gabrielle Mary Ivinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


During an ethnographic research project exploring young people's perceptions of living in a post-industrial semi-rural place, boys aged 13/14 years revealed their semi-clandestine motorbiking activities across mountains trails. It was found that riding motorbikes and fixing engines were potential resources for young boys' transitions into adult working-class masculinity and sources of competence, pride and enjoyment that mimetically referenced the industrial past. The study engages with Deleuze and Guattari's theory to explore relations among rider–machine–territory as dynamic Assemblages that fuse elements from technical, psychological and cultural media to show how motorbiking in different situations afforded boys more or less autonomy. The study argues that an epochal shift in the UK from an industrial to post-industrial base has changed the value attached to motorbike riding on mountain trails creating biking Assemblages that territorialise boys as social nuisances and potential criminals under police surveillance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-620
Number of pages16
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number5
Early online date6 Jun 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

This publication is based on research supported by the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data and Methods (WISERD) funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (Grant number: RES-576-25-0021) and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. I gratefully acknowledge the collective work and thinking of the research team and Particularly with Emma Renold who was my co-principle investigator. When I have used the term ‘we’ I am invoking the full YPP research team including Kate Moles, Mariann Martsin, Bella Dicks and others without whom I could not have written this study and who I thank for their intellectual generosity. Thanks to the teachers, youth workers and young people who worked closely with the research team for their trust and openness. My thanks also to two anonymous reviewers for helping me sharpen the focus of the study considerably.


  • motorbikes
  • skills
  • Deleuze and Guattari
  • embodied
  • masculinity


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