Friday, 6 March 2015

The future of the American automobile (dissertation)

The Road Ahead: American Automobility and the Politics of the Future

How does the US envision the future of automobility in the context of climate change and resource depletion? This dissertation examines texts produced by the US Department of Energy; the US Department of Transportation; and the writings of Transition US.  Automobility's dominance of the American imagination is being unsettled as discourse fragments into three narratives. One envisions technological acceleration into a future where climate change is manageable and where Americans remain highly mobile, autonomous, driver-consumers. One sees the future as an opportunity to repair the social and environmental damage wrought by 20th-century automobility by transforming the built environment to resemble the pre-automobile landscape. The third expects the inevitable end of the automobile age in the face of runaway climate change and peak oil. Each narrative derives from irreconcilable core assumptions about human nature and how much of the world is in human hands.

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