Mobility - flows, movement and migration in social life - has emerged as a central area of sociological debate, yet one of its most dominant forms, automobility, has remained largely ignored. Edited by three leading social analysts, Automobilities presents one of the first and most wide-ranging examinations of the car and its promise of autonomy and mobility. Drawing on rich empirical detail, from ethnographies of office work on the motorway to the important of the car in French cultural theory, the contributions demonstrate just how significant have been the economic, technological, social and political consequences of a pervasive and accelerating culture of the car. A broad array of theories are put to work to illuminate this vast and yet neglected topic: strategy and tactics, complexity theory, performativity, actor network theory, film theory, material culture, theories of non-places, embodiment, sensuous geography/sociology, ethnomethodology and non-representational theory. This book will firmly establish automobilities as a key topic for theory and research. Automobilities represents a landmark text that will contribute to and provide a significant impetus for the emerging analysis of mobilities in contemporary societies.

Automobilities: An Introduction

Automobilities: An Introduction

Automobilities: An introduction

The Car System

THERE HAS been an upsurge of interest in recent years in the significance of flows, movement and mobility in social life.1 Yet it could be argued that one of the dominant forms of mobility, automobility, has been a neglected topic within sociology, cultural studies and related disciplines. There are of course noted exceptions. Roland Barthes (1972: 88), for example, suggests that because cars are both used and ‘consumed in image’ by the whole population they should be seen as ‘the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals’ (Urry, 2000: 58). Certainly cars have high visibility in the social landscape and cultural imaginary over the last century. One billion cars were manufactured in the course of the 20th century ...

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