The car has become ubiquitous in late modern society and has become the leading object in the ordinary social relations of mobility. Despite its centrality to the culture and material form of modern societies, the relationship between the car and human beings has remained largely unexplored by sociology. This article argues that cars are combined with their drivers into an assemblage, the ‘driver-car’, which has become a form of social being that brings about distinctive social actions in modern society – driving, transporting, parking, consuming, polluting, killing, communicating and so on. To understand the nature of this assemblage a number of theoretical perspectives that describe the interaction and collaboration between human beings and complex objects are explored; the process of driving, ‘affordance’, actor-network theory, and the embodied relationship between driver and car. This theoretical account of the driver-car is intended as a preliminary to the empirical investigation of the place of the driver-car in modern societies.
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Theory Culture & Society, 21 (4-5), 2004, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2004 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Theory Culture & Society page: http://tcs.sagepub.com/ on SAGE Journals Online: http://online.sagepub.com/ Special Issue on Automobility RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Sociology