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.

The ‘System’ of Automobility

The ‘system’ of automobility

Today, we experience an ease of motion unknown to any prior urban civilization … we take unrestricted motion of the individual to be an absolute right. The private motorcar is the logical instrument for exercising that right, and the effect on public space, especially the space of the urban street, is that the space becomes meaningless or even maddening unless it can be subordinated to free movement.

(Sennett, 1977: 14)

Automobility and its Self-Expansion

ONE BILLION cars were manufactured during the last century. There are currently over 700 million cars roaming the world. World car travel is predicted to triple between 1990 and 2050 (Hawken et al., 1999). Country after country is developing an ‘automobility culture’ with the most significant ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles