Autopia : Cars and Culture

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The reach of the car today is almost universal, and its effect on landscapes, cityscapes, cultures indeed, on the very fabric of the modern world is profound. Cars have brought benefits to individuals in terms of mobility and expanded horizons, but the cost has been very high in terms of damage to the environment and the consumption of precious resources. Despite the growing belief that a Faustian price is now being paid for the freedom cars have bestowed on us, we are none the less manufacturing them in ever greater numbers. "Autopia" is the first book to explore the culture of the motor car in the widest possible sense. Featuring newly commissioned essays by writers, critics, historians, artists and film-makers, as well as reprinting key texts, it examines the effect of the car throughout the world, including the USA, Western and Eastern Europe, Japan, China, Cuba, India and South Africa. In this book the car is treated neither as a technological fetish object nor as an instrument of danger. Instead, it is examined as a hugely important determinant of 20th-century culture, neither wholly good nor an unmitigated disaster, and certainly endlessly fascinating.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 400 pages
  • 206.8 x 253 x 27.2mm | 1,397.08g
  • Reaktion Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 179 black & white illustrations, 131 colour illustrations
  • 1861891326
  • 9781861891327
  • 1,577,239

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Author Information

Peter Wollen is Professor of Film Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Joe Kerr is Head of the Department of Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art, London, and co-editor of London from Punk to Blair (Reaktion, 2003). Contributors include Michael Bracewell, Ziauddin Sardar, Al Rees, Martin Pawley, Donald Richie and Peter Hamilton. Key texts by Marshall Berman, Jane Jacobs, Roland Barthes, Marc Auge and others.

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Review quote

To download some sample pages from Autopia please click here (1Mb). 'This collection ... takes a broad view of how we live with cars and their influence on society ... Several of the pieces would not be out of place in a travel book, and give the collection a real richness and relevance, while the excellent photographs - many in colour - bring the work to life The List, Glasglow Critically sophisticated without ever being merely modish, this book provides an overview that's genuinely illuminating and invariably fun to read Auto Express, London This is the first book to capture the cultural effects of the car on a global scale and is recommended Library Journal

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