Automobilisering som mobilitetsparadigme - refleksioner over biler, bilister og deres spatiotemporaliteter


  • Jörg Beckmann



Automobilization as mobility paradigm. Reflections on cars, drivers and spatio-temporalities This article attempts to provide a theoretical contribution to ‘traffic and mobility sociology’. The article discusses three central dimensions of automobilization. The first is automobilization’s spatio-temporal context. Automobilization has opened the urban structure and liberated the individual from its physical limitations, while it has created a more dangerous and spread out structure, which constantly forces both humans and commodities to keep moving. The second dimension is the subject of automobilization. While the car has liberated the modern individual from spatio-temporal structures, it has embedded its users into a more mobile life form. The third dimension is the vehicles themselves. Cars are surprisingly alike in their structure, however they take on human characteristics. The article argues that automobilization has become reflexive. Under reflexive automobilization almost all ‘autosubjects’ are engaged in defining, interpreting and responding to the car’s environmental threats, not necessarily in a self-critical fashion. Rather their responses often merely lead to a reproduction of traditional ‘auto-spaces’.