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‘‘One needs to be very brave to stand all that’’: Cycling, rational dress and the struggle for citizenship in late nineteenth century Britain

Jungnickel, Katrina. 2015. ‘‘One needs to be very brave to stand all that’’: Cycling, rational dress and the struggle for citizenship in late nineteenth century Britain. Geoforum, 64, pp. 362-371. ISSN 0016-7185 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The article discusses changing ideas around citizenship through an analysis of first person accounts of women cyclists in Rational Dress in late nineteenth century Britain. A close reading of personal correspondence provides a sense of how it felt to cycle while dressed in new mobility costumes, such as bloomers, in urban and suburban English landscapes. Such attired and independently mobile women affirmed or unsettled onlooker’s understandings of how middle and upper class women should look and act in public. Some viewers subjected them to verbal and often physical assault. Others, in awe of their socio-technical sophistication were more supportive. Taking a ’bloomer point of view’ provides a unique socio-material way of gaining a deeper understanding of what enabled and also inhibited women’s claims to citizenship and freedom of movement, especially at a time when women were not citizens in a legal sense. I argue that through these richly described accounts we gain insightful glimpses into how individual sensory, embodied and political experiences collectively illuminate the becoming of ’citizen’ as it relates to mobility, gender and landscape.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.04.008

Additional Information:

Geoforum, Special Issue: Geographies of citizenship and everyday (im)mobility.

Initial research for this article was conducted with support received from the Economic and Social Research Council which funded Rachel Aldred’s ‘Cycling Cultures’ research project (RES-061-25-0390). The continued development of the historical research project is supported by an Economic and Social Research Council Knowledge Exchange grant (ES/K008048/1).

Open Access funded by Economic and Social Research Council

Keywords:

Bodies; Citizenship; Cycling; Gender; Mobility; Rational Dress

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology

Dates:

DateEvent
August 2015Published

Item ID:

11581

Date Deposited:

15 May 2015 09:40

Last Modified:

10 Jul 2018 05:01

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/11581

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