Popular Culture, Populism and the Figure of the ‘Criminal’ On the Rising Popular Support of Outlaw Bikers and Anti-Establishment Resentment

  • Tereza KuldovaEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Crime, Media and Culture book series (PSCMC)


Outlaw motorcycle clubs, especially the iconic Hells Angels, have been a powerful figment of popular culture since the 1950s. Over the decades, they have morphed into strong transnational organizations engaged in their own self-commodification, and have been labelled as organized crime groups posing considerable security threats by law enforcement. This book chapter focuses on how these organizations engage the superimpositions of fact and fiction in order to mobilize new supporters. It attempts to answer the question of why more and more people in Europe align themselves ideologically with the outlaw bikers, support them, and share their anti-establishment resentments—against the ‘weak’ state, ‘official’ media or politicians. Interplays between fact and fiction are one facet of mainstreaming deviant subcultures that can help us understand this phenomenon.


Outlaw motorcycle clubs Anti-establishment narratives Fictions Populism Popular culture 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Archaeology, Conservation and HistoryUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.University of ViennaViennaAustria

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