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Spectators’ Negotiations of Risk, Masculinity and Performative Mobilities at the TT Races

Terry, Alan; Maddrell, Avril; Gale, Tim; Arlidge, Simon


Alan Terry

Avril Maddrell

Tim Gale

Simon Arlidge


© 2014 Taylor & Francis. Abstract: This paper explores the particular assemblage of place, event and individual identity performances that occur each year in the Isle of Man in and through the TT (Tourist Trophy) motorcycle races. These road races are associated with a high degree of risk for the racers and the confluence of over 30,000 visitors and 10,000 motorcycles also presents potential risks for spectators and residents alike. Both motorcycling and risk-taking have been associated with particular forms of masculinity, notably hegemonic, working class and youthful masculinities. Using detailed surveys of spectators we argue that the TT races, while undoubtedly dominated by men and predicated on a cultural privileging of speed and skill, are grounded in varying combinations of determinate and reflexive attitudes to risk, reflecting the performance of a variety of gendered, ‘biker’ and wider identity-based positionalities. Findings also highlight a particular inter-relation of mobilities and place identities at the TT races and bring to light the highly significant and under-researched embodied, performative and emotional mobilities of spectators. The conceptual and methodological importance of (a) situated research of both mobilities and gender in specific place-temporalities and (b) wider surveys of motorcyclists to complement ethnographic studies of small cohorts are also stressed.


Terry, A., Maddrell, A., Gale, T., & Arlidge, S. (2015). Spectators’ Negotiations of Risk, Masculinity and Performative Mobilities at the TT Races. Mobilities, 10(4), 628-648.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Journal Mobilities
Print ISSN 1745-0101
Electronic ISSN 1745-011X
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 4
Pages 628-648
Keywords Isle of Man TT, masculinities, moto-mobilities, risk, road racing, spectators
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Mobilities on 30 April 2014, available online:


Mobilities TT paper FINAL November 2013.docx (87 Kb)

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