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Title: Cycles of opportunity? The significance of cycling cultures on cycling practice : the case of Newcastle upon Tyne 1982-2017
Authors: Parsons, Rorie Arran
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Mainstream contemporary travel in the UK is dominated by a system of automobility with sustainable forms of mobility such as cycling largely marginalized. In response to a widely perceived imperative to grow cycle use due to its health and ecological benefits in particular, transport policy and planning has focused on individual choice, thus relying upon psychological models of behaviour change. This thesis adopts a more sociological view of understanding behavioural change. It mobilises practice theory to explore how the ‘social sites’ of cycling contribute to cycling practices. Utilising a case study methodology, the activities of three advocate groups of cycling (‘social sites’) in Newcastle upon Tyne, England are critically examined: Tynebikes, The Cycle Hub and Newcastle Cycling Campaign. The research uses qualitative data from ethnographic observations, semi-structured interviews, and document analysis. It is evident that whilst all social sites advocate for cycling, they differentiate in ways that reflect practice theory’s elements of meanings, materials and competences. As a result, it identifies that social sites contribute to various local trajectories of cycling practice. The emergence of new elements introduced by social sites refers to cycling practices being born through a process of re-crafting. Particularly in regards to campaigning practices, the introduction of these elements also highlight the decline of other particular performances of cycling. In popularising existing elements, current and locally situated cycling performances persist, largely through the development of communities of practice. While the innovative combination of existing meanings, competences and materials in new ways relates to attempts to grow cycle usage. This thesis therefore highlights the significance social sites play in affecting future trajectories of cycling. Cycling social sites both widen and restrict cycling practices through the performances they intentionally and unintentionally reproduce and circulate, and thus contribute to the birth, growth, maintenance and potential decline of cycling practices. This finding is important for advocates and policy-makers looking to promote cycle usage.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape

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