Anyone who assumes that a car is simply a means to get from point A to point B, or who even thinks that they know what a car is, should read this book. Profoundly shaped by culture, the car gives rise to a wide range of emotions, from guilt about the environment in the UK to aboriginal concerns with car corpses, to struggles to keep the creatures alive with everything but the proper spare parts in West Africa. Cars and their landscapes prove central to human life from its most intimate to the widest sense of global crisis, and are capable of inspiring epic passions. From road rage in Western Europe to the struggles of cab driving in Africa to the emergence of Black identity in the US, this book examines the essential humanity of the car, which includes the jealousies, gender differences, fears and moralities that cars give rise to. Firmly grounded in detailed ethnographic and historical scholarship, this is the first book to provide an informed sense of cars as one of the most familiar and significant forms of material culture.
Table of Contents
1 Driven Societies 2 The Life and Death of Cars: Private Vehicles on the Pitjanjatjara Lands, South Australia 3 The Invisible Car: The Cultural Purification of Road Rage 4 Driving While Black Paul Gilroy 81 5 Raggare and the Panic of Mobility: Modernity and Hybridity in Sweden 6 Driving, Drinking and Daring in Norway 7 Kwaku’s Car: The Struggles and Stories of a Ghanaian Long-Distance Taxi-Driver , 8 Soundscapes of the Car: A Critical Ethnography of Automobile Habitation 9 Negotiating Car Use in Everyday Life Simon Maxwell 203 10 The Colonizing Vehicle
Daniel Miller is Professor of Anthropology, University College London. Recent books include 'A Theory of Shopping' and 'The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach' (with Don Slater).