• Anne Kirstine Bahnson Jespersen
4. semester, Kriminologi, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Narratives about violence have started to capture the interests of criminologists. Previously, narratives were considered problematic in criminological work as it was expected that criminal offenders are not honest when talking about their criminal acts. However, that is now changing. With the introduction of narrative criminology stories told by offenders are now presenting new ways to do criminological enquiries. Narratives present a gateway to new knowledge about criminal behavior and motivation.
This master thesis examines the narratives told by members of the Danish Hells Angels Chapters to explore how the members themselves interpret and make sense of their violent world. By using a narrative approach this thesis shows how narratives about violence are influenced by political changes and sanctions towards the Danish Biker culture. By examining four different periods of violent conflict in which Hells Angels Denmark took part, this thesis explores the historical development in the way club members legitimize and carry out violence.
The thesis analyzes autobiographical novels, interviews and a manifest to secure a broad historical framework and focuses on four analytical themes such as the explanations for violence, the verbalizations of enemies, the character of violence and the moral world which is constructed. Focusing on these analytical themes makes it possible to examine the way in which the legitimizations develop through the four periods of conflict.
Using a theoretical approach by Etienne Balibar (2002) to explore the legitimacy of violence and the theoretical concept of ‘the moral laboratory’ by Cheryl Mattingly (2013) the thesis finds that the bikers consider violence to be a legitimate way of communicating right and wrong. Hells Angels members seek to legitimize their violent acts through referral to reasons for violence sanctioned by civil society and what Balibar (2002) refers to as preventive counterviolence. By referring to legitimate reasons for violence the bikers negotiate the interpretation of their actions. The narratives from the early empirical material shows how violence is a way of creating distance between the ‘rockers’ and civil society. However, as the Great Nordic Bikerwars erupted in the late 1990’s political sanction towards the Danish Bikers had a profound effect on the way the Bikers talk about violence and Hells Angels and Bandidos both accuse the police and media for the escalation of the conflict. By using Cheryl Mattinglys theoretical concept of ‘the moral laboratory’ the thesis shows how the bikers seek to construct a moral world in which violence is a legitimate way of

communication and show how the bikers present themselves as guardians of the Danish culture in their conflict against immigrant youth gangs.
The thesis concludes that the legitimizations develop from violence as a way of having fun to violence as a defense of Danish culture. It is shown that the legitimizations all refer to popular discourses about right and wrong. The violence throughout the historical development are characterized by being excessive actions. However, the analysis shows how the Hells Angels members themselves consider the excessive violence to be legitimate and shows how the members relate to civil societys characterization of violence.
Antal sider68
ID: 304967428