Perhaps more than any other commodity or “thing,” cars have been linked to the emergence and development of consumer societies. There are two reasons for this: first, the car or automobile appeared as a new and distinct object of individual consumption just as modern consumer culture was becoming established; and second, the car has led in the transition from being an object whose standardized mass production helped shape the economy of modern societies to being one whose variety and appeal to individual choice transformed it into a consumer society. David Gartman describes this history by showing how the early car culture of leisure for the very rich who could afford handbuilt machines was transformed into a protoconsumer culture by Henry Ford's mass produced Model ...

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