Ride to live, live to ride : motorcycle dispatches from Maceió

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Layton, Katherine Alice

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Traffic codes and highways exist as powerful tools of measurement and coding by the State that attempt to regulate and control the mobility of bodies through space. In Brazil, these measures and codes function according to capitalist hierarchies of commodities, social practices of exclusion that severely debilitate the mobility of all but a few, and the colonial histories upon which these were constructed. This thesis examines such processes at work in the use of motorcycles as a form of transport for low and low-middle income social groups in an urban setting in the Northeast of Brazil. The simplistic categorization of motorcycles as dangerous, a hackneyed explanation for the high number of accidents and fatalities involving motorcycles in Brazil, reveals exclusion and colonial power at work. This thesis aims to explore the presumption and inscription of motorcycles and their riders as inherently dangerous or threatening actors in order to answer the deceptively simple question: why are motorcycles considered hazardous?



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