Motorcycling in 1980s Athens

Popularization, Representational Politics, and Social Identities

in Transfers
Panagiotis Zestanakis University of Crete

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Between the late 1970s and the early 1990s the number of motorcycles circulating in Athens almost quadrupled. This article examines the spread of motorcycling during the 1980s as a social, cultural, and political phenomenon. By examining representations of motorcycling as a deviant lifestyle, the article focuses on the strategies used to stigmatize bikers. Moreover, it describes the popularization of motorcycling and explores how public anxiety about it led to the emergence of new associations such as the motorcycle clubs. Finally, it argues that motorcycling represented a male lifestyle not completely inaccessible to women, a development that testifies to greater flexibility regarding contemporary gender norms and preferences.

Contributor Notes

Panagiotis Zestanakis is a PhD candidate in contemporary European history at the University of Crete. His research project titled “Lifestyles, Gender Relations and New Social Spaces in 1980s Athens” has been funded by the Greek State Scholarship Foundation (2010–2014) and supported by a European Commission grant (2012–2013). His major research interests focus on the history of everyday life and changes in consumption habits, gender relations, and the media landscape in post-dictatorship Greece. E-mail:

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Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies