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Boy Racers and Influencing their Behaviour Dr Karen Lumsden Department of Social Sciences

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Presentation on theme: "Boy Racers and Influencing their Behaviour Dr Karen Lumsden Department of Social Sciences"— Presentation transcript:

1 Boy Racers and Influencing their Behaviour Dr Karen Lumsden Department of Social Sciences

2 Overview Ethnographic research with ‘boy racer’ culture in city of Aberdeen, Scotland. Interested in both: The boy racer culture (rituals, participation, gender, class) The response of society (police, politicians, media, local community) Background to Aberdeen’s ‘Bouley Bashers’ Police and local authority response The myth of the ‘boy racer’ Lessons learned for RSOs from police response to the drivers in Aberdeen: Use of ASB legislation Education

3 Background: Aberdeen’s ‘Bouley Bashers’ Car culture at Aberdeen’s Beach Boulevard since late 1960s Urban regeneration from 1990s onwards Community concern Proliferation of local and national media articles on Aberdeen’s ‘boy racers’ (peaked 2004/5)

4 Media Representation ‘ For more than 30 years they’ve been at it – speeding recklessly up and down the Beach Boulevard. In that time the leisure complex has grown massively and become a magnet for families. But that hasn’t stopped the madness of the boy racers – or led to the authorities driving them off the roads’ (Press & Journal 2002)

5 Police and Local Authority Response Police operations CCTV Redesigned road layout Education via road safety events Grampian Police ‘Drivers’ Group’ Provision of alternative spaces (i.e. ‘park and ride’ car parks) ASB legislation: seizure of vehicles and dispersal orders

6 The Myth of the ‘Boy Racer’ Importance of car modification for individual and collective identity Driving performances allow individuals to gain celebrity status Growing number of girls participate although still largely male, working- class subculture Not all youths, also older drivers Challenges myths around what a ‘boy racer’ is: > Majority took pride in driving skills and cars

7 The ‘Drivers’ Group’ and Self-Policing Grampian Police ‘Drivers’ Group’ successful as a way of information sharing between police/community and drivers The drivers also engaged in their own informal policing re. ‘how to behave’ in the culture Informal rules and expectations which members were expected to adhere to (i.e. parking on ‘trammers’ and not beside the flats, not speeding/racing)

8 Lessons for RSOs: ASB Powers In case of Aberdeen’s boy racers, ASB powers were only successful in the short term Long term implications – stigmatized group and impacted negatively on police-driver relations Tension between successful consensual management of young drivers.. And enforcement-led approaches reflected via use of ASB legislation More education needed on regulations and best-practice for car modification

9 Lessons for RSOs: Driver Education Focus on education and interaction via community policing – must extend to roads policing ‘Drivers’ Group’ particularly successful as a way of information sharing between police and drivers Recognition of the myth of the ‘boy racer’ or street racer – not always young drivers…

10 What does the term ‘boy racer’ mean? ‘Well it’s stereotypical. Isn’t it? I guess by their definition I typically am [a ‘boy racer’] but then what does the term mean? I am, but I don’t really race. In fact, not that I don’t really race, I never have raced! Most people who come down here aren’t racers either. It’s just a few idiots who spoil it for the rest of us.’ (Interview with Robert)

11 Further Information Access publications via webpage: s/staff/lumsden-karen.html s/staff/lumsden-karen.html Or me directly:


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