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Abstracts, NORMA 5.1

The bionic man goes autoerotic: Theoretic keys towards a refined understanding of men’s risk taking in public space

Dag Balkmar & Tanja Joelsson

Gender construction in relation to mobility and movement gives rise to intriguing questions regarding the interfaces between men, masculinity, technology, »danger» and risk-taking, especially when discussing issues of traffic safety. How can we conceptualize men’s risk taking practices within the traffic realm? By drawing on research from feminist science and technology studies, the authors suggest and develop the figuration the bionic man for how to understand cars and other mobile vehicles such as mopeds as extensions of the (male) body. The construction of masculinity is seen to be interlinked with the use and mastering of motor vehicles. This theoretical framework is further analysed by introducing the concept of autoeroticism as a meaningful way for understanding the profound embodied and emotional relation between men, technologies of movement and risk taking. The authors argue that the emotional aspects of driving cars and riding mopeds need to be regarded as both vital and crucial aspects when studying men’s risk taking in traffic space.

Keywords
gender, (bionic) men, masculinity, technology, autoeroticism, emotions, risk taking, traffic safety

NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies 5(1), 27-44.

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