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Interstate Interstitials: Bumper Stickers, Driver-Cars and the Spaces of Social Encounter on Contemporary American Superhighways

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Interstate Interstitials: Bumper Stickers, Driver-Cars and the Spaces of Social Encounter on Contemporary American Superhighways

Goettlich, Walter (2015) Interstate Interstitials: Bumper Stickers, Driver-Cars and the Spaces of Social Encounter on Contemporary American Superhighways. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Since the turn of the 21st century, it has been the established aim of mobilities scholars to investigate the ways in which contemporary life is conditioned and carried out through the movements of people, things and ideas. Despite concerns over global climate change on the one hand, and the heyday of peak-oil receding quickly into the rear view mirror on the other, the primary vehicle of mobility in the United States remains the personal automobile. Contemporary American notions of self and identity are frequently interpreted through the individual’s relationship(s) to cars and driving, and while cars themselves are mass-manufactured items, they afford a number of many non-technical practices of customization as modes of individuation. Perhaps most commonplace of these practices is the use of bumper stickers.

This thesis is a critical examination of the type of everyday cultural construction and social encounter that may emerge from reading bumper stickers in motion. Such a practice is informed by both the structural and systemic conditions of American superhighway automobility, as well as by the phenomenological effects of isolation and speed on the road these conditions produce. An embodied subject, emerges through participation in the regime of automobility, but the body I have in mind is not, strictly speaking, the unitary, human body. It is, rather, a performed, materially-heterogeneous assemblage: a reader-car, through which unexpected—often asymmetrical and asynchronous, but nonetheless social— spaces of interaction coalesce and extend.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Goettlich, Walter
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Sociology
Date:15 April 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Simon, Bart
Keywords:mobilities, automobilities, American Studies, driving, bumper sticker, material semiotics
ID Code:979904
Deposited By: WALTER GOETTLICH JR
Deposited On:09 Jul 2015 16:32
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:50
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