Dangerous gender performances "Hydraulic masculinity" as a norm for young male drivers

Sarah Redshaw

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


The paper discusses data from focus groups carried out as part of the Transforming Drivers project in partnership with NRMA Motoring and Services, focusing on the significance of gender in shaping young people's relationships to cars. Little analysis from a socio-cultural framework has been applied to the specific practices and experiences afforded by cars as they exist within a broader driving culture, especially for younger people. It is important therefore to link larger social categories such as gender with the ways in which gender is expressed through cars. Analysis of focus group discussions showed distinct differences in the ways in which young men and women 'perform' in cars and how cars are a significant aspect of their evolving identities. Employing the idea of 'hydraulic masculinities' from the work of Linley Walker, the paper will outline the concept, relating it to the focus group data and indicating the involvement of danger in this form of masculinity as it is expressed through cars. The importance of age and gender as a social norm significantly shaping young men's relationship to cars is emphasised. Suggestions are made in conclusion, as to how gender performance might be appropriately addressed in road safety.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralasian Road Safety Research Policing and Education Conference 2006
Subtitle of host publicationsubmitted papers
Place of PublicationGold Coast
PublisherAble Video and Multimedia
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9780734525512
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
EventRoad Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference - Gold Coast
Duration: 25 Oct 200627 Oct 2006


ConferenceRoad Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference
CityGold Coast

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