Autopia: Cars and Culture / Edition 1

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This scholarly tome collects 25 new essays and a dozen others that consider automotive culture on a global scale. Certainly, the cars we drive are woven into the very fabric of our modern world, and personal automotive transport is growing at unprecedented rates in developing countries. The themes in the book reflect this growth and focus on cities, design, driving, the car in film and literature, roads and highways, the car in music, and traffic jams. The reach here is worldwide, with individual essays concerning not only the United States but also China, Africa, Western Europe, India, Cuba, Russia, and Japan. Personal transportation has become a leading economic and cultural force that shows no sign of abatement. Much of 20th-century culture is unimaginable without the automobile and, whether good or bad for the world in the long term, the car is overwhelmingly etched into our social landscape. This is the first book to capture the cultural effects of the car on a global scale and is recommended for all libraries.-Eric C. Shoaf, Brown Univ. Lib., Providence, RI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781861891327
  • Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 2/3/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 9.75 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Wollen is Professor of Film Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Joe Kerr is Head of the Department of Critical and Historical Studies at the Royal College of Art, London.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Cars and Culture 10
Thematic Introductions
Cars in Culture 21
Automobiles and Art 25
Accidents: The Car and Literature 50
No Particular Place to Go 59
Crossroads: The Automobile, Rock and Roll and Democracy 65
Vanishing Points 75
Moving Spaces 83
Blood on the Nash Ambassador: Cars in American Films 95
Cars and Capital 115
Trouble in Motor City 125
Some Thoughts on Car Culture in Japan 139
Technik 147
Riding the Survivors of the Soviet Union 153
Our Cars in Havana 169
Engines of Revolution: Car Cultures in China 177
The Lada: A Cultural Icon 191
Automobile Metempsychoses in the Land of Dracula 199
The Ambassador from India 209
Dangerous but Irrepressible: Cars and Driving in Post-Apartheid South Africa 219
Automonster 227
Motor Spaces 233
Robert Moses: The Expressway World 244
Driving the American Landscape 249
Erosion of Cities or Attrition of Automobiles 259
The Asphalt Exodus 266
L. A. Freeway: An Appreciative Essay 277
Pleasure and the Motorway 281
Fade to Grey: Motor ways and Monotony 288
Roundabouts and Yellow Lines 293
Traffic 296
Come Together 307
Squealing Wheels and Flying Fists 312
Motopia: Cities, Cars and Architecture 315
Myths and Motors 327
The Birth of the Automobile 337
The New Citroen 340
Sexual Ambiguity and Automotive Engineering 342
America's Love Affair with the Automobile in the Television Age 354
Men, Motors, Markets and Women 363
The Downfall of the Dymaxion Car 371
References 379
Bibliography 389
Contributors 393
Acknowledgements 395
Photographic Acknowledgements 396
Index 397
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