The changing culture of outlaw motorcycle gangs in Australia

Photo of motorbike gang
Abstract

This study explores changes to the internal culture of a sample of Australian outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs). We analysed data from 39 in-depth interviews with former OMCG members in Queensland to discern changes in recruitment practices, hierarchies and governance processes, as well as values, norms and relationships experienced and observed while members of an OMCG.

Structurally, clubs changed little, although participants described how members were increasingly using the structures and systems of clubs for their own benefit. Changes were noted in recruitment practices, which were seen as increasingly geared towards enlisting violent, criminally-inclined men. There was also a perceived erosion of loyalty and camaraderie within OMCGs, with a shift towards younger, newer members who were seen as self-interested and financially motivated. These changes were contributing factors in decisions of many former members to disengage from OMCGs.

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