Return to site

The bakfiets as lens for class and gender

· research project,sociology,social environment,Output

(By: Willem Boterman)

In Dutch inner-cities, like Amsterdam, ‘cargo bikes’ have become a popular mode of transport for urban families. Remarkably, the cargo bike has become a highly contested object in both public space and public discourse. This paper uses the cargo bike as a lens to discuss the transformations of urban space from the perspective of class and gender. Based on a qualitative content analysis of national newspapers it argues that the cargo bike has become a symbol of the interdependence of specific residential, employment, consumption and mobility practices.

Cargo-bike drivers are portrayed as ‘yuppies’ or ‘elitist’, related to their class position; and described in terms of specific gender roles: cargo-bike mothers are described as career-focused mothers who are assertive and self-confident, while cargo-bike dads are portrayed as ‘soft’ yet also emancipated. These labels attest to the different expectations and normativities around being a ‘good’ mother or father, particularly within the context of urban space. This paper concludes that the cargo bike is a symbol of the way in which middle-class mothers and fathers challenge and negotiate these dominant norms around parenthood, who are thereby remaking the city.

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!