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Street speeding or racing sport—Seeing the motorcycle in Taiwan from media texts and motorcycle team culture
motorcycle team culture
motorcycle image representation
Taiwan maintains the 1st place in the ratio of motorcycle ownership and the density of motorcycle among the world. Therefore, people ride their motorcycles with different ways. Some people do the speeding or illegal racing on the road, even hurting others they don’t recognize with weapons along the street. These people is called “speeding gang” by the media and the mass. Gradually, the negative image of “speeding” has constructed a direct and solid connection with juveniles who ride the motorcycle to do all the things besides as means of transportation. Hence, there is no space for the community to take motorcycles as a leisure interest to remodel their motorcycles or undertake the racing sports because of the “speeding gang” tagged by the public. However, the government had kept the conservative thinking and implemented the martial law to maintain the social order and defend their power relations in the society for 38 years, making people long for a free and democratic society even more. As a consequence, the first wave of juvenile speeding unrest had broken out in the phase of the lift of martial law in the end of the 1980s, and becoming a social phenomenon spreading to whole Taiwan, even up to now. The passive attitudes of the ruling class make the illegal racing have a stronger but distorted connection with people who love motorcycle, turning into a twisted presentation of sub-culture which shows juvenile rebellion towards social mainstream ideology. This study is based on the political, economic and social change materials about the developing process of motorcycle industry in Taiwan, trying to describe the dilemmas and opportunities via the analysis of news and advertisements of different periods about motorcycle to understand the image representations, and actually participating in the activities of a motorbike team. The study finds that the reason why motorcycles have been represented with the speeding image in the news and the racing image in the ads is all resulted from the political reasons to control the social order. Consequently, a group of people who love motorcycles domesticate themselves with institutionalized managements and requirements to foam a inner identity towards a team, even to a community, presenting their honest manner to ride motorbikes which absolutely different from speeding gang. All they want is the respect and acquaintance from the public, hoping to have a chance to develop a positive sub-culture to show the cultural diversity in Taiwan.
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