Against Automobility

Against Automobility

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Despite its promise of freedom and autonomy, the ubiquity of the automobile has influenced unforeseen ecological, social, and political change. In
Against Automobility , a panel of distinguished scholars take a critical look at the contradiction of the automobile.

A critical account of the impact of the car on society, which is both liberated by and reliant upon motor vehicles.
Written by a panel of distinguished scholars from varying disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.
Examines automobility's effect on environmental, social, and political issues.
Will be of interest to those whose research focuses on geography, politics, consumption and cultural studies, critical theory, and the sociology of objects and everyday life.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 268 pages
  • 153 x 229 x 14mm | 372g
  • Blackwell Publishing Ltd
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1405152702
  • 9781405152709
  • 2,112,096

Back cover copy

Despite the promise of freedom and autonomy that has been claimed to characterize the automobile, the automobile is also implicated in wholesale ecological destruction, automated industrial factory production and a uniquely individualistic conception of autonomy. This contradiction at the heart of automobility is the target of this book, which takes to task the moving 'iron cages' that roam the modern landscape. Given the ubiquity of the automobile, and the patent contradictions and impossibilities on which it rests, it is strange that automobility has escaped serious critical theoretical attention for so long.

In this volume, distinguished scholars from across the social sciences and humanities focus a critical theoretical gaze on the automobile or, more accurately, on the regime of automobility that conjoins a particular conception of autonomy with a particular conception of mobility and sees the automobile as the pure living embodiment of automobility. The contributors interrogate not simply 'the car' but also the social forms of organization that enable, and are reproduced by, widespread automobility; the cultural reproduction of auto-mobile subjectivities; and the political refiguration of autonomy and constraint that have been driven by automobility. In doing so, they open the space for a political evaluation and reappraisal of automobility in all of its facets.

This volume will be of interest to those working in areas such as geography, politics, consumption and cultural studies, but also to those in critical theory and the sociology of objects and of everyday life. It shows a way of thinking about, against, and beyond the current regime of automobility.
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Table of contents

Part One: Conceptualising Automobility.
1. Impossibilities of Automobility: Steffen Boehm, Campbell Jones, Chris Land and Matthew Paterson.

2. Inhabiting the Car: John Urry.

3. Driving the Social: Joanna Latimer and Rolland Munro.

Part Two: Governing Automobility.

4. Transport: Disciplining the Body that Travels: Jennifer Bonham.

5. `Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre': Assembling and Governing the Motorway Driver In Late Fifties Britain: Peter Merriman.

6. Quantifying Automobility: Speed, `Zero Tolerance' and Democracy: Per-Anders Forstorp.

7. Automobility and the Liberal Disposition: Sudir Chella Rajan.

Part Three: Representing Automobility.

8. No Literal Connection: Images of Mass Commodification, US Militarism, and the Oil Industry, in The Big Lebowski: David Martin-Jones.

9. The Mimetics of Mobile Capital: Nicole Shukin.

10. Traffic, Desire, Modernism: The Hermaphrodite Singer and Beyond: Andrew Thacker.

Part Four: After Automobility.

11. Virtual Automobility: Two Ways To Get a Life: J. Hillis Miller.

12. Bicycle Messengers and the Road to Freedom: Ben Fincham.

13. "Always Crashing in the Same Car": A Head-On Collision with the Machinic Phylum: Mark Dery.
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About Steffen Böhm

Steffen Boehm is Lecturer in Management at the University of Essex and member of the editorial collective of
ephemera: theory & politics in organization.

Campbell Jones is Director of the Centre for Philosophy and Political Economy and Senior Lecturer in Critical Theory and Business Ethics at the University of Leicester.

Chris Land is Lecturer in Management at the University of Essex. His research interests include the role of technology in the production and maintenance of human subjectivities and relationships of power and resistance within late-capitalist societies.

Matthew Paterson is Professor of Political Science at the University of Ottawa. His research focuses on the intersection between International Political Economy, International Relations theory and global environmental politics.
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