Fleeing the rules in a braggart car

Loud horns and roaring engines regularly cause nuisance in several cities. Drivers from far and wide come to the city centres to drive their cars around, but where does this behaviour come from? Jeroen van den Broek, criminologist and researcher at Erasmus School of Law, states in an article in NRC that this is part of street culture. It is all about seeing and being seen.

The Kruisplein, Kruiskade, and West-Kruiskade, all notorious places in Rotterdam when it comes to cars that drive around in a showy manner. According to Van den Broek, standing out is the main reason for this behaviour. It is of course not the case that everyone who drive around in these types of cars is part of the street culture. After all, we cannot measure everyone by the same standards. Some young people seem to make the conscious choice to misbehave in another city, far from their own community. 

The context of street culture

Youngsters who feel that they are not fully seen within the wider society sometimes join in with street culture to seek what they call 'respect'. In order to gain that respect, they try to meet the behavioural expectations that apply within that setting as well as they possibly can. Three of these specific behavioural expectations can be recognised in the behaviour of the youngsters we are speaking of in this article. In the first place, they meet the behavioural expectation of conspicuous consumption by driving around in their expensive car. “Where branded clothing can be fake, you can't cheat with expensive cars. They are real anyway, even if they have been rented, there can be no discussion about this", according to Van den Broek. 

A middle finger to society

In the second place, their behaviour can be seen as a middle finger to society, which also fits within the context of the street: "not to give a shit is often part of those morals: who can touch us?". Thirdly, they present themselves as sexually masculine. The goal is to appear as macho as possible and score as many phone numbers or Snapchat accounts as possible. Not to contact the women, but to appear masculine. All in all, the brash behaviour at Kruisplein, the Meent, or Witte de With fit within the broader context of street culture. 

More information

Read the whole article in the NRC here (Dutch).

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