Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Kees van der Pijl
Chapter 23: Automobility: culture, (re-)production and sustainability
The production, consumption, regulation and cultural valorization of automobiles have been central to the reproduction of capitalist development since at least the 1930s. This chapter elaborates what we can learn from focusing on the automobile – as one particular technology, a culture, a production regime, and a social institution of twentieth-century capitalism. It has been central also to the regime of accumulation known often simply as Fordism (cf. Desai, this volume); it has been a crucial component of the transnationalization of production; and finally, it has been a critical site for the unfolding of various contradictions within Fordism and in ongoing attempts to stabilize (or undermine) capitalism. At the same time, the regime of accumulation centred on automobility has engendered very particular and highly destructive socio-ecological impacts.
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