A human geographical exploration of adventure motorcycling : freedom to move, freedom to feel, freedom to choose

Wolferink, Gabriëlle Stephanie

September 2013

Thesis or dissertation

© 2013 Gabriëlle Stephanie Wolferink. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Freedom is a term that is used often when an adventure motorcyclist is asked what it is all about and when asked what it is what he or she experiences and why he or she engages in this activity. This thesis explores what adventure motorcycling is all about and how the sense of freedom that is experienced can be explained. Accepting that freedom is quite a broad, elusive and yet over-determined umbrella term, and focusing on several modalities of adventure motorcycling that all come with their own approach to what is dubbed as ‘freedom’, this thesis moves towards a more concrete understanding of what the adventure motorcyclist means when he refers to the simple term of ‘freedom’. The core modalities that are discussed in this thesis are firstly the interaction or combination of human and machine (motorcycle), secondly, the experience of the landscape, and thirdly, the philosophy behind adventure and challenge itself, which is approached as a rite of passage. With the help of adventure travel narratives, artwork and films, all embedded in a theoretical framework that runs from Latour’s idea of assemblages to Merleau-Ponty’s Primacy of Perception, and from J.B. Jackson’s ‘Abstract World of the Hot-Rodder’ to the Arnold van Gennep’s schéma of the Rite of Passage, exploration of these core modalities of adventure motorcycling provide an insight into the world of the motorcyclist and what is meant when ideas of freedom are mentioned.

Department of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, The University of Hull
Atkinson, David, 1969-; Rose, Mitch
Qualification level
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