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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Performance of Chicano Masculinity in Lowrider Car Culture: The Erotic Triangle, Visual Sovereignty, and Rasquachismo

  • Author(s): Chavez, Michael Juan
  • Advisor(s): Mirande, Alfredo
  • et al.
Abstract

This project is a qualitative exploration of masculinity, race, sexuality, and identity found within the lowrider style of automobile customization. By employing the frameworks of homosociality, visual sovereignty, and rasquachismo, I map the terrain of Chicano masculinity as it is intertwined with car culture. Using an insider perspective, I find that the production of identity in this arena is far more complex and nuanced than it appears on the surface. The men discussed in this study produce their social location using mechanisms that often contradict commonly held assumptions about lowriding. They have intricate strategies to appropriate and manipulate power while at the same time constructing gender and sexual identity that is quite common to hegemonic standards of heteronormativity.

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