Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Lewis, Jacqueline

Keywords

Social sciences, Automobility, Critical discourse analysis, Longboarding, Skateboarding

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Longboarding has become increasingly popular in recent years in Canada and its practice on public streets has lead to serious injuries, including fatalities and a highly contested debate about its legitimacy on public roads. Using a case study within a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) framework, this paper analyzes a series of debates about longboarding that took place during city council meetings in a community in British Columbia, Canada. The critical study of automobility - our social and cultural predisposition to the car as mobility - is adopted to consider how it constructs longboarding within these public policy debates. The results indicate that longboarding as an activity on public roads challenges automobility and "common sense" perceptions of road use. Longbaorders are constructed as illegitimate road users who create a danger to others, especially drivers. The debates about longboarding highlight the pervasiveness of our `car culture' and the difficulty in incorporating alternative forms of transportation into a system that prioritizes automobiles and drivers over other forms of mobility.

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