Auto Mechanics: Technology and Expertise in Twentieth-Century America

Auto Mechanics: Technology and Expertise in Twentieth-Century America

by Kevin L. Borg
     
 

ISBN-10: 0801894859

ISBN-13: 9780801894855

Pub. Date: 06/10/2010

Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press

The history of automobiles is not just the story of invention, manufacturing, and marketing; it is also a story of repair. Auto Mechanics opens the repair shop to historical study—for the first time—by tracing the emergence of a dirty, difficult, and important profession.

Kevin L. Borg's study spans a century of automotive technology—from

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Overview

The history of automobiles is not just the story of invention, manufacturing, and marketing; it is also a story of repair. Auto Mechanics opens the repair shop to historical study—for the first time—by tracing the emergence of a dirty, difficult, and important profession.

Kevin L. Borg's study spans a century of automotive technology—from the horseless carriage of the late nineteenth century to the "check engine" light of the late twentieth. Drawing from a diverse body of source material, Borg explores how the mechanic’s occupation formed and evolved within the context of broad American fault lines of class, race, and gender and how vocational education entwined these tensions around the mechanic’s unique expertise. He further shows how aspects of the consumer rights and environmental movements, as well as the design of automotive electronics, reflected and challenged the social identity and expertise of the mechanic.

In the history of the American auto mechanic, Borg finds the origins of a persistent anxiety that even today accompanies the prospect of taking one's car in for repair.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801894855
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
06/10/2010
Series:
Studies in Industry and Society
Pages:
280
Sales rank:
1,025,153
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
Introduction: Technology's Middle Ground     1
The Problem with Chauffeur-Mechanics     13
Ad Hoc Mechanics     31
Creating New Mechanics     53
The Automobile in Public Education     76
Tinkering with Sociotechnical Hierarchies     99
Suburban Paradox: Maintaining Automobility in the Postwar Decades     115
"Check Engine": Technology of Distrust     138
Conclusion: Servants or Savants? Revaluing the Middle Ground     170
Notes     179
Essay on Sources     235
Index     243

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