Sammanfattning: This thesis deals with the motorcycle and the subcultures that have grown up around it in Sweden. Early on, the motorcycle became a culturally formative object associated with a sporty, tough, and technically oriented masculinity. A decisive factor underpinning the culturally formative force of the motorcycle, is its spirit, which encapsulates what a motorcycle really is: a virile, demanding, fast, potentially dangerous, and technically sophisticated power-machine. It is in dedication to this spirit, as well as around its maintenance, and development, that motorcycle-cultures flourish. The technical and social histories of the motorcycle are intertwined, through the spirit's essence. The motorcycle was built to be faster and more powerful long before it was refined to be safer and more comfortable.A central aspect of the spirit of the motorcycle derives from an understanding of what its uses are. A motorcycle has four purposes: tool, toy, medium, and totem. Of these four, its use as a toy initially dominated. It was not until the end of the 1920s that its purpose as a tool really became established. Later still, the other two purposes of the motorcycle, medium and totem, came to play stronger roles. With the "skinnknuttar" (leather boys) of the 1950s these roles became evermore significant, and with the veteran-enthusiasts, touring- and chopper-riders of the 1960s, these roles came to dominate. The medium and totem-purposes became fully predominant during the 1980s and 1990s, among the USA-imported biker, custom- and outlawbiker cultures. Whereas earlier motorcyclists had to live up to the demands made by the spirit of the motorcycle (through action), it was now sufficient to acquire the right model and the right clothes. Motorcycle-culture has evolved over the last I 5 years from a youth-culture to a "youthful" culture for middle-aged men and women seeking adventure.
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