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Inside the Brotherhood: Some Theoretical Aspects of Group Dynamics in Biker Clubs

Chapter in book
Authors Stig Grundvall
Published in Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs and Street Gangs. Scheming Legality, Resisting Criminalization
Pages 205-223
ISBN 978-3-319-76119-0
Publisher Palgrave MacMillan
Place of publication Cham
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Social Work
Pages 205-223
Language en
Keywords Biker, brotherhood, group cohesion, honor, rivalry, conflict, secrecy
Subject categories Ethnography


Previous studies have often referred to the outlaw biker club as a fraternity with security and solidarity functions. In this article, Grundvall highlights some other aspects that suggest that this type of bonding tends to reinforce introversion, secrecy, and a hostile attitude toward the outside world. While on the one hand, unbroken loyalty and ritual self-affirmations form strong ties and security, on the other, they also contribute to mimetic power struggles both within the group and against other biker clubs. Grundvall demonstrates how self-reinforcing processes within the group may create a system in which secrets must be preserved, betrayal must be avoided, and where the outside world seems increasingly intimidating. The conclusions are, in many respects, also relevant to street gangs and other groups in the margins of society.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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