1st Edition

In the Company of Cars
Driving as a Social and Cultural Practice

ISBN 9781138071797
Published March 29, 2017 by CRC Press
208 Pages

USD $69.95

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Book Description

It has long been accepted that the social and cultural meanings of the car far exceed the practical need for mobility. This book marks the first attempt to contribute to road safety, considering, in depth, these meanings and the cultures of driving that are shaped by them. In the Company of Cars examines the perspectives that young people have on cars, and explores the broader social and cultural meanings of the car, the potential it is supposed to fulfil, and the anticipated benefits it offers to young drivers. From focus-group research conducted in Australia, the book takes up the views of young people on a range of topics, from media to car use to gender performance. The author looks at the ways in which driving has been defined by articulations of the car that emphasize valued features of the car-driver, such as gender, youthfulness, status, age, power, raciness, sexiness, ruggedness and competitiveness. The book takes a global perspective on mobility, considering the impact of cars and road safety policy on quality of life, and the value and significance of other modes of travel, in a range of countries.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword, Tim Dant; Preface; Introduction: cars and their associations; Enticing cars and driving styles; Inscribing driving: boredom and pleasure on the roads; Cultured drivers; Driven by desire; Dilemmas of the car; An ethical future of mobility; Bibliography; Index.

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Dr Sarah Redshaw has been conducting research projects for a number of years on the social and cultural issues related to young drivers and their over-representation in road casualties. She has been Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney and has collaborated with local councils, government departments and other organisations. She has employed social and cultural theory to better understand important areas of social/everyday life in ways that might have direct implications for policy. The significant impact of the research in the community and within the road safety field has been demonstrated in invitations to submit to Federal and State government inquiries and to consult with government departments.


'I strongly recommend this empirically rich book which details how different social groups live with their cars. This book makes a major contribution to developing analyses of those complex connections between social life and the machines that mobilise that life.' John Urry, Lancaster University, UK 'Redshaw approaches driving as a social and cultural practice, in a highly original, theoretically and empirically informed, manner that helps us understand our relations with the car as complex, ambiguous, pleasurable, and meaningful.' Graeme Turner, University of Queensland, Australia 'Anyone who is in any way affected by cars should read this book. Moreover, many of Redshaw's findings should be incorporated into the assessment criteria for obtaining a driver's licence in Australia. Her emphasis on young drivers arises from a genuine concern to reduce Australia's unacceptable road toll.' M/C Reviews, August 2008