Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Motorcycle Outlaws, and the identity of the One Percenter
Introduction to Sociology I - SOCI 1001 C Fall 2014
To: Professor Charles Gibney From: Nickolaus Mclachlan-pollo Student ID: 100975146 November 26, 2014
Subcultures are different groups that are within the larger groups of mainstream culture and one predominant subculture is outlaw motorcycle gangs, such as the Bandido’s, Hell’s Angels, Vago’s and Rock Machine (Quinn 2010:Pg 380). These are some of the groups that make up the one percent of biker gangs who refuse to follow the normal standards within their society (Hopper and Moore 2004:Pg 59-60). They use unorthodox accessories and uniform designs such as patches, vests, bandanas, insignias and certain colors to instill fear in the normal citizens with their society which are some of material artifacts and objects within these groups (Barker 2007:Pg 71-72). The norms and values within biker gangs is to part take in criminal activities to gain profit or show fear, terrorize and persecute other rival biker gangs or victimize citizens to show superiority within that particular region or territory that their motorcycle club is in (Davis 1982:Pg 15). They also perform unusual initiation rites which include violent acts, drug dealing and theft (Barker 2007:Pg 65). These bikers have to place their gang, its criminal activities, and members above everything else and make it their way of life. Like any other organized crime syndicate they have a tight hierarchical structure, which you have to earn your way up the ranks by participating in their criminal activities to achieve a higher status within motorcycle gangs (Quinn 2010:Pg 388-389). However, whereas traditional organized crime groups have made themselves closer in relationship with society, outlaw motorcycle gangs have disconnected themselves from this relationship. A relevant theory within outlaw motorcycle gangs is Anomie and isolation. According to professor Gibney Anomie is the lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group, the one percent of outlaw motorcycle gangs lack both the social and ethical standards within society (Gibney, Sept. 9, 2014). They lack these standards because these bikers commit unethical crimes and do certain things that the majority of citizens within mainstream culture would not do, such as commit violent acts, extortion, murder, and theft (Quinn 2010:Pg 384). In which have caused the outlaw biker gangs to be isolated and disconnected from their community and mainstream culture because of their lack of shared social norms, values, beliefs and also the criminal activity they have to part take in, for these biker gangs to thrive within their own subculture.
Ethnographic description of Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs
Throughout Canada, the United States and the world there are hundreds of Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs, one of the most prominent Clubs within Canada is the Bandido’s. They were founded in 1966, and have a highly bureaucratic structure (Davis 1982:Pg 20). At the top of the structure is the national president, he is the main leader of all the other branches of the Bandido’s around the world and his role is to assign authority, duties and rules over to the national vice presidents (ibid: 20). The vice presidents of the Bandido’s handle disputes of local chapters who cannot resolve it themselves (ibid: 20). They also have a national secretary treasurer, who is in charge of all of the clubs finances and makes changes or revises to the Bandido’s by-laws and records (ibid: 21). They also have a national enforcer who handles any