10 Everyday driving – Mobile consumerism and commuting A s we have seen, buying a car was a key element in wealthier middle-class suburban life of the 1930s and it was, at first, mostly used for special journeys. For example, for the family weekend trip to the seaside and the countryside, and for driving at high speed, for the fun of driving in itself.1 These are the journeys that are recorded with great frequency in memoirs and in contemporary accounts because they were great fun and exciting. Photograph albums made in the 1930s often turn up at auctions
Driving with strangers is an ambitious and inspiring contribution to how we think about travel and ourselves, in an age of climate breakdown and social isolation. It uses a global history of hitchhiking as a touchstone to explore larger political and ethical questions about how to live more cooperatively and empathetically, to share the road and the Earth's resources more equitably, and to embrace the freedom of social encounters rather than to fear those who are different from ourselves. Each chapter tells ‘sociological stories’ of the motor age, from the very first ‘intentional’ hitchhike by Mr Charles Brown Jr in the summer of 1916, to the ‘sports hitchhikers’ and hitchhiking clubs of contemporary Europe and Russia. The book encourages the reader to ‘think like a hitchhiker’, to embrace the view from the margins, whether one has chosen to be there, has been propelled by circumstances or is in need of a stretch of the imagination. Driving with strangers proposes a ‘vagabond sociological’ perspective which can inform how we deal with the social and ecological crises of the coming decades, drawing on proven practical examples from around the world and the thoughts of inspirational travellers and their songs, poems, artwork and recollections.
1 Driving on the Kingston Bypass T his book came about through my looking out of a car window. I have lived in suburban south-west London for the last thirty-five years and getting around this part of the world obliges you, if you are a car driver, to use the Kingston Bypass. This is a worrying road, its lanes are too narrow and it carries a lot of traffic heading to and from town. It is mostly ribboned by semi-detached houses that seem far too close to the road for comfort of driver or resident. Speed limits and the occasional traffic camera have reduced
This chapter takes the analytical framework presented in this book on three ‘test-drives’. As mentioned in the Introduction, combining two in-depth case studies with three shorter test-drives of the theory in this book allows me to flesh out the class of situations which form appropriate testing grounds for my analytical framework. The goal of test-driving my theory in these cases of policy change is to increase our confidence in the analytical steps developed in the previous chapters, by complementing the two case study chapters with
Self-driving cars have long been depicted in cinematic narratives, across genres from science fiction films to fantasy films. In some cases, a self-driving car is personified as one of the main characters. This article examines cinematic representations and imaginaries in order to understand the development of the self-driving technology and its integration in contemporary societies, drawing on examples such as The Love Bug, Knight Rider, Minority Report and I, Robot. Conceptually and methodologically, the article combines close readings of films with technological concerns and theoretical considerations, in an attempt to grasp the entanglement of cinematographic imaginaries, audiovisual technologies, artificial intelligence and human interactions that characterise the introduction of self-driving cars in contemporary societies. The human–AI machine interaction is considered both on technological and theoretical levels. Issues of automation, agency and disengagement are traced in cinematic representations and tackled, calling into question the concepts of socio-technical assemblage.
The open road is popularly imagined as both cinematic and male, a space suited to the scope afforded by the cinema and the breadth demanded by the male psyche. However, while these connotations are ingrained within the aesthetics of driving, its kinaesthetics – the articulations between bodies, movement and space – have more in common with television and with stories of women’s desire. Drawing from Iris Marion Young’s theories of gendered embodiment, this article argues that driving, television and female desire are all marked by the same contradictions between movement and stability, and between public and private. It analyses two recent television programmes concerned with women behind the wheel – Black Mirror’s ‘San Junipero’ (Netflix, 2016) and the first two seasons of Big Little Lies (HBO, 2017–present) – to argue that driving on television affords a space through which to negotiate feminine embodiment, agency and desire.
marriage. Our study also highlights the role of gender norms in driving child marriage in South Sudan. These include norms giving status to parents when a daughter marries, norms relating to a girl’s virginity at time of marriage, and norms that emphasise the value of child-bearing. Our findings demonstrate how bride price perpetuates child marriage, and show how bride price is linked to the gendered expectations of boys and men. Bride price is tied to economic insecurity both because families resort to marriage when bride price is needed as a solution in dire times, and
From the time of his early adolescence until his death, traveling was one of, if not the, driving force of James Baldwin’s life. He traveled to escape, he travelled to discover, and he traveled because traveling was a way of knowing himself, of realizing his vocation.
Filmmaker Jennifer Lyon Bell (Blue Artichoke Films) has made empathy the centre of her practice as an alternative porn filmmaker. This blend of artist manifesto and academic essay illuminates the three ways in which empathy is a driving force at every level of her artistic efforts. 1) Structure: Using a foundation of cognitive film theory and specifically the work of Murray Smith, she builds empathy into the structure and content of her films themselves. 2) Production: She prioritises empathy in her production process on the set with cast and crew 3) Society: By creating and spreading empathetic pornography, she aims to introduce more empathy into society at large.
Taking its starting point from a socio-anthropological study combining biographical interviews, semi-structured interviews and ethnographic observations collected between 2016 and 2018 in Germany, France and the United States among Ovaherero and Nama activists, and also members of different institutions and associations, this article focuses on the question of human remains in the current struggle for recognition and reparation of the genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama from a transnational perspective. First, the text shows the ways in which the memory of human remains can be considered as a driving force in the struggle of the affected communities. Second, it outlines the main points of mismatches of perspective between descendants of the survivors and the responsible museums during past restitutions of human remains from German anthropological collections. Third, the article more closely examines the resources of Ovaherero in the United States in the struggle for recognition and reparation, the recent discovery of Namibian human remains in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the questions that it raises.