“One needs to be very brave to stand all that” – article in Geoforum special issue

Finally, this article is out and it is available open access.

Jungnickel, K. “One needs to be very brave to stand all that”: Cycling, rational dress and the struggle for citizenship in late nineteenth century Britain, Geoforum, Special Issue: Geographies of citizenship and everyday (im)mobility.

Abstract: The article discusses changing ideas around citizenship through an analysis of first person accounts of women cyclists in Rational Dress in late nineteenth century Britain. A close reading of personal correspondence provides a sense of how it felt to cycle while dressed in new mobility costumes, such as bloomers, in urban and suburban English landscapes. Such attired and independently mobile women affirmed or unsettled onlooker’s understandings of how middle and upper class women should look and act in public. Some viewers subjected them to verbal and often physical assault. Others, in awe of their socio-technical sophistication were more supportive. Taking a ’bloomer point of view’ provides a unique socio-material way of gaining a deeper understanding of what enabled and also inhibited women’s claims to citizenship and freedom of movement, especially at a time when women were not citizens in a legal sense. I argue that through these richly described accounts we gain insightful glimpses into how individual sensory, embodied and political experiences collectively illuminate the becoming of ’citizen’ as it relates to mobility, gender and landscape.

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