Author

Isabel Deixel

Class Year

2014

Access Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Urban Studies Program

First Advisor

Brian Godfrey

Second Advisor

Mary Ann Cunningham

Abstract

This thesis aims to identify the different mechanisms at play within varying types of bicycle activism in New York City. Through an examination of three case studies – a grassroots group, a non-profit organization, and an institutional program – I demonstrate the dynamics of power within the bicycle activist community and clarify the ways each actor fits into the process as a whole. Theories of automobility and the Right to the City play key roles in informing my analysis and provide a theoretical framework around which I base my three case studies. I contend that the politicization of the bicycle must occur in various forms and by multiple actors in order for activism to achieve meaningful change within politics and the public eye. Bicycle activism thus relies heavily, yet in different ways, upon the formal and informal actors operating at different scopes. I use these conclusions to inform my claim that activism itself is a process, rather than a practice, that necessitates a diversity of entities and actors working in different capacities simultaneously.

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