Playgrounds without frontiers: movin’, moddin’, pushing the boundaries of pleasure ZANNAGH H AT TON
Abstract Using the car to transform behaviour appears to be regarded by some guardians of public and private spaces as an act of deviancy, particularly when such behaviour is accompanied by risky practices or a flagrant disregard for visible symbols of enforcement, local and national legislation. Yet such activities have been attributed in the main to a cohort of young men who subscribe to street car culture and who have been attributed by some media, particularly in the UK, an umbrella term, which is simply ‘boy racers’. These young men have been characterized by a history of transforming behaviour in what is experienced as a radical flip from normative behaviours of using the car as a means of transport, to what has come to be regarded as a highly transgressive disorder resulting in a number of performative, risky activities (including extreme modification or ‘moddin’ ’ of the car), and where risk appears to have become esteemed. The interactions between the boy racers viewed as potential offenders, the redefined public spaces (public car parks and out-of-town industrial estates) which have become their ‘stage’ or ‘playground’ where as they as actors perform, and the guardians of such spaces, which may include the police, local authority and private landowners, present a kind of symbiotic relationship which is shaped by the structure and meanings of the settings in which these activities take place, and where all the actors use their experiences to adjust their behaviour accordingly.