Abstract for Cycling & Society 2017

Making the personal political – overlaps in feminist theory and cycle activism

Proposer: Katja Leyendecker, Northumbria University, Newcastle UK

Relevant themes: equality

ABSTRACT

I start from the point that a lack of conceptual oversight is one major trap that cycle activism can be ensnared in – especially at a time when democracy and democratic processes are in crisis. Where can cycle activists turn for knowledge and ideas?

With that backdrop in mind “What can cycle activism learn from feminism?” is a question worth asking: not only does feminism hold a rich and undulating history of activism, it can also provide academic theory and concepts relevant to cycle advocacy and academia. Employing feminist theory and revisiting the history of feminism I want to draw out parallels to cycle activism. I also hope to uncover new avenues for cycle activism to advance its radical cause for social justice: happy citizens and their communities in healthy cities with prospering local economies.

The basis for my analysis is an auto/ethnographic look at newcycling.org (Newcastle’s local cycle campaign, founded in 2010). I will compare newcycling.org’s origins and progress (its linkages with politics and inter/national cycle activism) to radical feminist theory, thus plotting parallels, overlaps, diversions and partings. In closing, learning from the comparison, I will attempt to draw an outlook for an emancipated cycle activism.

END

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