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.
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Edited by Daniel Miller, Professor of Anthropology, University College London. Recent books include A Theory of Shopping, The Internet: An Ethnographic Approach (with Don Slater) and Ed. Car Cultures.Review:
'This book will be a welcome addition to the growing number of courses that look at the impact the automobile has had and is having in the world. Highly recommended for all collections.' Choice 'At last! A book which not only takes a wide-ranging and nuanced approach to the contradictory relations between humans and cars, but also places that research within a cosmopolitan empirical and theoretical framework.' The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 'Car cultures does offer a rather different take on car use and abuse than found in the usual anti-car environmentalist genre. Perhaps the core difference is that whereas much is written about the interaction of the car and its surrounding environment, rather less serious research is devoted to how people and cars interact.' Environmental Politics
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