While Americans prize the ability to get behind the wheel and hit the open road, they have not always agreed on what constitutes safe, decorous driving or who is capable of it. Mobility without Mayhem is a lively cultural history of America’s fear of and fascination with driving, from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Jeremy Packer analyzes how driving has been understood by experts, imagined by citizens, regulated by traffic laws, governed through education and propaganda, and represented in films, television, magazines, and newspapers. Whether considering motorcycles as symbols of rebellion and angst, or the role of CB radio in regulating driving and in truckers’ evasions of those regulations, Packer shows that ideas about safe versus risky driving often have had less to do with real dangers than with drivers’ identities. Packer focuses on cultural figures that have been singled out as particularly dangerous. Women drivers, hot-rodders, bikers, hitchhikers, truckers, those who “drive while black,” and road ragers have all been targets of fear. As Packer debunks claims about the dangers posed by each figure, he exposes biases against marginalized populations, anxieties about social change, and commercial and political desires to profit by fomenting fear. Certain populations have been labeled as dangerous or deviant, he argues, to legitimize monitoring and regulation and, ultimately, to curtail access to automotive mobility. Packer reveals how the boundary between personal freedom and social constraint is continually renegotiated in discussions about safe, proper driving.
United States. President's Task Force on Highway Safety
In Mobility, Space and Culture, Peter Merriman provides an important and timely contribution to the mobilities turn in the social sciences, focusing on the spacing and timing of practices of mobility. The book takes an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon theoretical and empirical work from sociology, geography, mobility studies, cultural studies, politics and history to examine important aspects of the intersection of mobile practices and spaces of mobility. Merriman draws upon post-structuralist writings on space, practice and society...
In sheer numbers, no form of government control comes close to the police stop. Each year, twelve percent of drivers in the United States are stopped by the police, and the figure is almost double among racial minorities. Police stops are among the most recognizable and frequently criticized incidences of racial profiling, but, while numerous studies have shown that minorities are pulled over at higher rates, none have examined how police stops have come to be both encouraged and institutionalized. Pulled Over deftly traces the strange history of the investigatory police stop, from its discredited beginning as “aggressive patrolling” to its current status as accepted institutional practice. Drawing on the richest study of police stops to date, the authors show that who is stopped and how they are treated convey powerful messages about citizenship and racial disparity in the United States. For African Americans, for instance, the experience of investigatory stops erodes the perceived legitimacy of police stops and of the police generally, leading to decreased trust in the police and less willingness to solicit police assistance or to self-censor in terms of clothing or where they drive. This holds true even when police are courteous and respectful throughout the encounters and follow seemingly colorblind institutional protocols. With a growing push in recent years to use local police in immigration efforts, Hispanics stand poised to share African Americans’ long experience of investigative stops. In a country that celebrates democracy and racial equality, investigatory stops have a profound and deleterious effect on African American and other minority communities that merits serious reconsideration. Pulled Over offers practical recommendations on how reforms can protect the rights of citizens and still effectively combat crime.
During the high days of modernization fever, among the many disorienting changes Germans experienced in the Weimar Republic was an unprecedented mingling of consumption and identity: increasingly, what one bought signaled who one was. Exemplary of this volatile dynamic was the era’s burgeoning motorcycle culture. With automobiles largely a luxury of the upper classes, motorcycles complexly symbolized masculinity and freedom, embodying a widespread desire to embrace progress as well as profound anxieties over the course of social transformation. Through its richly textured account of the motorcycle as both icon and commodity, The Devil’s Wheels teases out the intricacies of gender and class in the Weimar years.
Materialist Approaches to Media, Mobility and Networks
Author: Jeremy Packer
Category: Social Science
Communication has often been understood as a realm of immaterial, insubstantial phenomena—images, messages, thoughts, languages, cultures, and ideologies—mediating our embodied experience of the concrete world. Communication Matters challenges this view, assembling leading scholars in the fields of Communication, Rhetoric, and English to focus on the materiality of communication. Building on the work of materialist theorists such as Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Friedrich Kittler, and Henri Lefebvre, the essays collected here examine the materiality of discourse itself and the constitutive force of communication in the production of the real. Communication Matters presents original work that rethinks communication as material and situates materialist approaches to communication within the broader "materiality turn" emerging in the humanities and social sciences. This collection will be of interest to researchers and postgraduate students in Media, Communication Studies, and Rhetoric. The book includes images of the digital media installations of Francesca Talenti, Professor, Department of Communication Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.