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RECONSIDERING THE BICYCLE: An Anthropological Perspective on a New (Old) Thing CHAPTER FIVE: On the Need for the Bicycle © Routledge 2013
KEY IDEAS Bicycling is a practice of life. Riding a bicycle transforms people, in subjective and social ways. Needs are culturally-constructed. Bicycles are contextual, multidimensional, and heterogeneous objects © Routledge 2013
Bicycling as a Practice of Life Bicycling has important moral, physical, and intellectual dimensions. It is a universe of daily experience and desire, invoking pain, joy, camaraderie, mystery, violence, moral dilemmas, and relationships with objects. The mounted cyclist is a different person: it transforms people and their experience. It also transforms peoples social status. Making critical sense of these dimensions means accepting that the bicycle is not a straightforward or self-evident fact. An ethnographic perspective yields how the practices of life associated with the bicycle are culturally-constructed. © Routledge 2013
Needs are Culturally-Constructed Humans have basic needs. Getting around in their environments, for example. But these needs are always shaped by the shared preferences and imperatives of culture. Urban mobility systems generate need to get around in certain ways. Bicycle peddlers generate need to consume bicycle products. People need to develop certain skills and practices to conduct their daily lives. Needs are often artificially imposed by powerful interests, generating conflict and struggle. © Routledge 2013
Bicycles are Complex Objects People project meanings onto bicycles to create status and understanding. + Riding a bicycle constrains and enables human bodies in particular ways. + The bicycle has many technical expressions. = Bicycles remind us of how important mundane objects are to human social lives and culture. © Routledge 2013
Discussion Questions How could you apply the practice of life concept to other technologies of mobility, such as the car, train, or airplane? How has this book changed your view of bicycles? How has it changed your view of Anthropology? © Routledge 2013
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RECONSIDERING THE BICYCLE: An Anthropological Perspective on a New (Old) Thing CHAPTER ONE: Anthropology, Bicycles, and Urban Mobility © Routledge 2013.
RECONSIDERING THE BICYCLE: An Anthropological Perspective on a New (Old) Thing CHAPTER THREE: Constructing Urban Bicycle Cultures: Perspectives on Three.
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RECONSIDERING THE BICYCLE: An Anthropological Perspective on a New (Old) Thing CHAPTER TWO: What (and When) is a Bicycle? © Routledge 2013.
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