Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Appropriating the city: space, theory, and bike messengers

  • Author(s): Kidder, Jeffrey L.
  • et al.

Over the last 30 years, social theorists have increasingly emphasized the importance of space. However, in empirical research, the dialectical relationship between social interaction and the physical environment is still a largely neglected issue. Using the theory of structuration, I provide a concrete example of why and how space matters in the cultural analysis of an urban social world. I argue that bike messengers—individuals who deliver time-sensitive materials in downtown cores of major cities—cannot be understood outside an analysis of space. Specifically, I connect the cultural significance of messenger practices to the emplacement of those practices inside the urban environment.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View