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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.

Auto Couture: Thinking the Car in Post-War France
Auto couture: Thinking the car in post-war France

ONE OF the aims of this special issue of Theory, Culture & Society is to redress one of the odder lacunae in the contemporary social sciences, namely the relative neglect of the motor car as an object of analysis and scrutiny (Hawkins, 1986). Occasional scholars such as Paul Virilio (e.g. 1986 [1977]) have drawn social theoretical attention to the roles played by modes of transportation in general, and automotive forms in particular, in the creation and maintenance of patterns of social organization.1 Yet it nonetheless remains the case that the automobile has not received due attention from thinkers who wish to comprehend the contours of contemporary societies. As Sheller and ...

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