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Cars and Culture

The reach of the car today is almost universal, and its effect on landscapes, cityscapes, cultures – indeed, on the very fabric of the modern world – is profound. Cars have brought benefits to individuals in terms of mobility and expanded horizons, but the cost has been very high in terms of damage to the environment and the consumption of precious resources. Despite the growing belief that a Faustian price is now being paid for the freedom cars have bestowed on us, we are none the less manufacturing them in ever greater numbers.

Autopia is the first book to explore the culture of the motor car in the widest possible sense. Featuring newly commissioned essays by writers, critics, historians, artists and film-makers, as well as reprinting key texts, it examines the effect of the car throughout the world, including the USA, Western and Eastern Europe, Japan, China, Cuba, India and South Africa. In this book the car is treated neither as a technological fetish object nor as an instrument of danger. Instead, it is examined as a hugely important determinant of 20th-century culture, neither wholly good nor an unmitigated disaster, and certainly endlessly fascinating.

Contributors include Michael Bracewell, Ziauddin Sardar, Al Rees, Martin Pawley, Donald Richie and Peter Hamilton. Key texts by Marshall Berman, Jane Jacobs, Roland Barthes, Marc Augé and others.

Distribution by the University of Chicago Press only to customers in the USA and Canada. Customers elsewhere should visit the UK website of Reaktion Books.

384 pages | 8.25 x 9.75

Culture Studies

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Cars and Culture - Peter Wollen
Thematic Introductions - Joe Kerr
Automobiles and Art - Peter Wollen
Accidents: The Car and Literature - Allen Samuels
No Particular Place to Go - Patrick Field
Crossroads: The Automobile, Rock and Roll and Democracy - E.L. Widmer
Vanishing Points - David Pascoe
Moving Spaces - A.L. Rees
Blood on the Nash Ambassador: Cars in American Films - Eric Mottram
Trouble in Motor City - Joe Kerr
Some Thoughts on Car Culture in Japan - Donald Richie
Technik - Dirk Leach
Riding the Survivors of the Soviet Union - Michael R. Leaman
Our Cars in Havana - Viviana Narotzky
Engines of Revolution: Car Cultures in China - Geremie R. Barmé
The Lada: A Cultural Icon - Peter Hamilton
Automobile Metempsychoses in the Land of Dracula - Adrian Otoiu
The Ambassador from India - Ziauddin Sardar
Dangerous but Irrepressible: Cars and Driving in Post-Apartheid South Africa - Catherine Addison
Automonster - Christopher Pinney
Robert Moses: The Expressway World - Marshall Berman
Driving the American Landscape - Andrew Cross
Erosion of Cities or Attrition of Automobiles - Jane Jacobs
The Asphalt Exodus - Jane Holtz Kay
L.A. Freeway: An Appreciative Essay - David Brodsly
Pleasure and the Motorway - Richard J. Williams
Fade to Grey: Motorways and Monotony - Michael Bracewell
Roundabouts and Yellow Lines - Marc Augé
Traffic - Ian Parker
Come Together - Sandy McCreery
Squealing Wheels and Flying Fists - Jack Sargeant
Motopia: Cities, Cars and Architecture - Murray Fraser & Joe Kerr
The Birth of the Automobile - Ilya Ehrenburg
The New Citroën - Roland Barthes
Sexual Ambiguity and Automotive Engineering - Patrick Keiller
America’s Love Affair with the Automobile in the Television Age - Karal Ann Marling
Men, Motors, Markets and Women - Grace Lees-Maffei
The Downfall of the Dymaxion Car - Martin Pawley
Photographic Acknowledgements

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