Juvenilising Cultures: Illegal and Legal Road Racing in Londrina, Brazil

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 4:30 PM
Room: F205
Oral Presentation
Leila JEOLAS , Departamento de CiÍncias Sociais, Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Londrina-PR, Brazil
Hagen KORDES , MŁnster Universitšt, Tecklenburg, Germany
This paper deals with masculinity and risk in the urban space of Brazil. The analysis seeks to comprehend sense and structure in the life-threatening manoeuvers of racing, beginning with the significations that the young racing enthusiasts attribute to their experiences of speed and thrill. Due to the illegal nature of road racing – racha − the research process for this study began in the virtual field of the internet community where young racers present and discuss their attraction (or even addiction) to acceleration and risk. Data was later collected in the ‘real’ field of roads (illegal) and autodromes (legal). The urban space of racha as a social practice is constituted by several groups whose members differentiate themselves through contrasting preferences in music and clothing. In this process of distinction they deploy and modify their bodies, at the same time seeking prestige and social reputation. Racing exhibits the joint power of the male driver and the modulated machine. We see here a kind of humachine constituted in the risk and danger of the race. The young men are thrilled by the heavy sound and vibration. In the moment of the race, they modify their registers of perception, time is accelerated, and they are released from the normal constraints of gravity in urban space. By high-tuning the engines the rachadors make themselves ready to transgress limits and norms of security and speed. The machine becomes an extension of the male body, a muscle car, a new sensory interpenetration of the corporeal and the engine.