• Susan Müller Poulsen
  • Camilla Moen
The outlaw biker culture has been a well-known phenomenon for decades, but due to many conflicts, as well as the many shooting episodes related to the gang and outlaw side of it in recent times, the focus on the outlaw biker environment has, following a quiet period, increased lately.

This study addresses the outlaw biker culture in Denmark from the perspective of its two dominant biker clubs: Hells Angels and Bandidos. The purpose of this thesis is to examine possible explanations as to why some people get involved in the outlaw biker culture. In addition, the thesis will illustrate how life in outlaw biker groups unfolds and which factors motivate bikers to leave the environment that it creates. Lastly, the thesis will examine life after an individual’s membership, and the consequences former bikers experience by leaving the outlaw biker environment.

To explore the outlaw biker culture, criminological theories have been used. The theory of subculture, rational choice theory and developmental theory have been utilized to describe push and pull factors of why some people seek to join the outlaw biker culture and all that it entails. Furthermore, the developmental theory gives insight into why some people choose to leave the culture. Apart from criminological theories, the study is based on national as well as international research of the outlaw biker environment. The empirical basis of this thesis consists of a combination of qualitative methods, with a document analysis of four autobiographies based on retrospective narratives from former members of the biker environment, as well as a semi-structured interview with a former outlaw biker.

The thesis concludes that social differences in society and upbringing in unfavourable surroundings, such as criminal environments, can be a prominent factor in pushing people towards the outlaw biker culture. Aside from this, the empirical findings suggest that pull factors within the biker environment can motivate some people to join an outlaw biker club. In addition, the analysis gives insight into positive and as negative aspects associated with life in biker groups, and how some of the negative aspects can play a motivating factor for leaving the group. Finally, the thesis concludes that membership of an outlaw biker club can have fatal consequences for those who want to leave.

The results of this thesis can contain anomalies due to possible shortcomings in the retrospective narratives, as well as the credibility of the narratives. In addition, the methodological
basis has weaknesses linked to a generalization of the results due to issues, associated with accessing the field of outlaw bikers, as well as recruiting informants for this research.
Publication date31 May 2018
Number of pages105
ID: 280214042