Auto Couture

Thinking the Car in Post-war France

David Inglis


NE OF the aims of this special issue of Theory, Culture & Society is to redress one of the odder lacunae in the contemporary social sciences, namely the relative neglect of the motor car as an object of analysis and scrutiny (Hawkins, 1986). Occasional scholars such as Paul Virilio (e.g. 1986 [1977]) have drawn social theoretical attention to the roles played by modes of transportation in general, and automotive forms in particular, in the creation and maintenance of patterns of social organization.1 Yet it nonetheless remains the case that the automobile has not received due attention from thinkers who wish to comprehend the contours of contemporary societies. As Sheller and Urry (2000) argue, this is a particularly curious state of affairs, in part because automobile technologies have been profoundly involved throughout the 20th century in shaping and reshaping urban and non-urban spaces, ways of thinking and being, and modes of social interaction. In this article, I intend to draw the attention of those interested in putting the automobile into the centre of social theoretical analyses, to the ideas of certain French authors who were concerned to understand the significance of the car in the social conditions they experienced. The authors that I examine made their contributions to French intellectual life in general, and the understanding of automobile culture in particular, in the post-war period. I will focus on the period roughly spanning 1950–75, partly for reasons of space but also, and more importantly, because there was a particularly rich vein of thinking about the car at this time that can be tapped by the present-day analyst. Although intellectuals living in pre-war France also gave some attention to automotive issues, as we will see briefly below, it was only really within the conditions of the post-war consumerist boom of the mid-1950s and after that the privately owned car became both a ubiquitous sight on French roads, an object that was within the financial
Theory, Culture & Society 2004 (SAGE, London, Thousand Oaks and New Delhi), Vol. 21(4/5): 197–219 DOI: 10.1177/0263276404046067


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purview of the broad mass of the population, and a source of concern and interest for writers, film-makers and other members of the intelligentsia. Because mass motor transportation came later to France than it did to the United States, and because the car figured as a contested technology in the period I am dealing with, being seen variously as a Trojan horse of Americanization or something that could quite comfortably fit into everyday French life, French intellectuals were in many cases highly attuned towards seeking to understand what the car’s impacts would be on social and cultural conditions. The ideas we will deal with in this article were fuelled by intellectuals’ interest in what France might look like under the aegis of the automobile. My specific purposes in this article are threefold. First, I wish to provide a succinct socio-cultural history of the development of car culture in post-war France, the ground out of which sprang the ideas as to the significance of the automobile developed by different intellectuals in the period. Second, I wish to draw together those ideas, presenting what are rather scattered writings by a variety of different authors in a synoptic fashion. This is the first time, as far as I am aware, that this exercise has been carried out in an English-language publication. In this way, I intend to make accessible to the Anglophone reader many of the interesting perspectives on car culture developed by French thinkers in the period under scrutiny. Third and finally, I would like to draw attention, where appropriate, to the ways in which the ideas and perspectives set out here may continue to be of use to authors who wish to grasp the implications of the car in the workings of society in the present day. As I believe will be apparent from my analysis of post-war French contributions to the comprehension of an ‘automobilic society’, many of the ideas on display here remain of great interest to social theorists. In some senses, therefore, French authors of the post-war period can be seen as foundational figures in the development of theories as to the dynamics of car culture. This article is intended as a contribution to identifying a corpus of ‘classic writings’ on this topic, upon which contemporary thinkers might usefully draw. I will first set out the historical background to the development of postwar automotive conditions in France, examining briefly in an empirical vein the rise of the French car industry and noting the enthusiastic embracing of the automobile by the modernist architect Le Corbusier. I will then consider the ways in which the car figured as the embodiment of spectacular forms of display, as this theme was pursued in the semiotic writings of Roland Barthes and the young Jean Baudrillard. Next I will turn to investigate the primarily hostile response of leftist thinkers such as Guy Debord, Henri Lefebvre and André Gorz to the apparent destruction of French physical spaces by the construction of the networks of concrete and asphalt that the car requires for its functioning. After that I will turn to consider how certain French thinkers related the car to certain wider social dynamics, such as conspicuous consumption and competitions for social status, and the aggressive behaviours fostered by a highly individualistic

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and competitive society. Finally, I will see how it was possible by the later 1960s onwards for certain French thinkers to view the car as an integral part of everyday life, which has brought with it its own particular rituals and idiosyncratic forms of social practice. I will conclude by drawing out the continuing relevance of aspects of these various perspectives for contemporary endeavours to ‘think the car’. Enter the Auto At the very beginning of the automobile age, France was a world-leader in car design and production. Although the very first motorized vehicles had been developed in Germany in the late 1880s, it was French entrepreneurs, such as the bicycle manufacturer Armand Peugeot, who took the lead in further developing these designs and making them commercially viable (Laux, 1976). This process developed quite quickly throughout the 1890s. One of the first fully fledged automobile races in the world took place between Paris and Bordeaux in 1895. The success of a voiture sans chevaux built by the French firm Panhard and Levassor in covering the 730 miles between Paris and Bordeaux and back again in only 52 hours, announced to the world that the automobile was no longer just an experimental device but a fully operational form of transport with huge potential to change the ways people and goods could be transported. Aided by the good condition of French roads and the wide availability of petrol throughout the country, the number of automotive vehicles in France rose from 300 in 1895 to more than 14,000 in 1900 (Barker, 1987). Although after this time the absolute numbers of automobiles on the road in both the United States and Great Britain were greater than in France, nonetheless car manufacture had became an important part of the French economy in the years around the First World War, the manufacturers Renault, Peugeot and Citroën all having become major employers at this time. One reason for this was that the wartime economy’s need for motor transport had transformed car manufacturing from a primarily small-scale, partially artisanal form of production to a large-scale, mass production enterprise (Fridenson, 1989; Kuisel, 1981). In the inter-war years, André Citroën consciously presented himself as the French Henry Ford, bringing the benefits of American-style management to the production process (Schweitzer, 1982). Conversely, the large car plants of the companies above became notorious for industrial militancy amongst the workforce, a reputation that persisted for at least another 50 years (e.g. Mothé, 1965). Although relatively high prices meant that private cars were in the interwar period restricted to the well-to-do middle classes, by the early 1930s there was already a fairly large number of car dealers in most large urban areas (Fridenson, 1972). Another indication of the increasing ubiquity of the car among upper levels of the bourgeoisie in the period between the wars was the rapid growth of motoring publications such as magazines, tourist guides (like the one produced by the tyre company Michelin), and maps aimed specifically at drivers (Fridenson, 1987).


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The dramatic impact the automobile could have on the thinking of intellectuals at this period is vividly demonstrated in Le Corbusier’s (1971) modernist manifesto L’Urbanisme, dating from 1924. Here he set out a prospectus of a new urban utopia, a glass and concrete Paris of the future characterized by high-rise towers, shopping centres, aerial highways and subterranean garages. The manifesto is prefaced by a parable about how he personally came to realize the beauty of this vision. Taking a stroll along the boulevards one summer evening, his perambulations were curtailed by the sheer density and noise of the traffic. As he put it, ‘the fury of traffic grew. To leave your house meant that once you had crossed the threshold you were a possible sacrifice to death in the shape of innumerable motors’ (Le Corbusier, 1971 [1924]: 3). Initially disoriented and dismayed, Le Corbusier says that he quickly came to realize that this situation, characterized by the omnipresence of the automobile, was thoroughly emblematic of the future. Instead of being appalled by this prospect, he came to believe that humankind not only had to come to terms with it, but also had to embrace it, through creating new ideals of beauty that were congruent with a world of concrete highways and speeding vehicles. He says that he had come to see a new purpose in his life:
. . . I was assisting at the titanic reawakening of a comparatively new phenomenon . . . traffic. Motors in all directions, going at all speeds. I was overwhelmed, an enthusiastic rapture filled me. Not the rapture of the shining coachwork under the gleaming lights, but the rapture of power. The simple and ingenuous pleasure of being in the centre of so much power, so much speed. (1971 [1924]: 3)2

As Marshall Berman (1993: 167) puts it, on Le Corbusier’s view at this period, the ‘man in the street will incorporate himself into the new power [of traffic, and thus of the future as a whole] by becoming the man in the car’. The automobile driver becomes the quintessential figure of a brave new world characterized by rationality, technology and speed.3 In the years after the Second World War, France underwent a series of major socio-cultural and socio-economic changes. As Gauron (1983: 96) puts it, by the late 1950s, ‘French society had been shaken profoundly by strong demographic growth, new capitalistic ways of production, rapid urbanization, and the opening of frontiers for international exchange and decolonization.’4 The car was profoundly implicated in a number of these wide-ranging social changes. A confluence of several factors ensured that the production of private cars far exceeded the amount produced annually before the war. The French state embarked upon a series of large-scale measures to ‘modernize’ the economy, one aspect of which was to create automotive conditions analogous to those that pertained in the USA. Such processes were aided by the fact that the Renault company was nationalized, partly as a result of the collaborationist stance of some of its senior executives during the Occupation (Jones, 1984).

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The three larger car manufacturers, namely Renault, Citroën and Peugeot, plus the smaller companies Simca and Panhard, were encouraged by the government each to target different sectors of the car market, and in so doing further to stimulate its development, especially amongst lower socio-economic groups. Thus Renault focused on the economy market, building the relatively inexpensive 4CV from 1946 onwards and the R4 from 1961. Peugeot cars were pitched at middle-market range, producing the popular 203 model from 1949 onwards. While Citroën primarily was oriented towards the more luxury end of the market, it also produced the iconic 2CV, which was at first aimed at farmers but soon became a popular choice among young people and bohemians (Dauncey, 2001). This partly state-encouraged development and segmentation of the market had the effect of encouraging substantial numbers of upper workingand lower middle-class people to enter into the condition of car ownership from the mid-1950s onwards. Car ownership was particularly high amongst the new class of ‘cadres’, the middle-ranking personnel who managed technocratic enterprises in both the public and private sectors (Boltanski, 1987). It was these middle-income white-collar workers who were the particular avatars of the burgeoning consumer economy, in which automobiles and household goods such as refrigerators were increasingly sold as essentials of life. As a result of these various developments, although France had lagged behind other western European countries in terms of private car ownership in the early 1950s, by the mid-1960s France was as motorized as any other western European country (Fridenson, 1987: 134). Auto-spectacle In the relatively short span of time between 1945 and the mid-1960s, the private car had turned from being a preserve of the upper middle classes to occupying an increasingly central position in the life of all social classes. Although by this time most French people still did not actually own a car, nonetheless drivers and non-drivers alike were subjected to the constant publicity for automobiles to be found in newspapers and magazines, and on radio and the new medium of television (Fridenson, 1981).5 It was more the symbolic, rather than as yet directly physical, ubiquity of the car that meant that it took ‘centre stage in cultural debate’ in France from the early 1950s onwards (Ross, 1996: 23; see also Bardou et al., 1982).6 The French in general, and the intelligentsia in particular, were highly reflexively conscious of the roles played by the automobiles in society in part because, unlike in the USA, the rise of the car was not taken for granted or seen necessarily to be a harbinger of the benefits of scientific and technological modernity.7 As the literary scholar Roland Barthes (2002 [1963]) noted in 1963, only food rivalled the automobile as a vehicle for reflections by the French upon the nature of their country in the present day, and its likely future under conditions of American-influenced consumerism. Despite its increasing symbolic omnipresence in French society, the automobile at first tended to be perceived by both intellectual and other


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social groups as something of an alien object, which was not fully integrated into quotidian existence in the way it was in the USA. For example, in Jacques Tati’s 1958 film Mon Oncle, a satire on the then-current vogue for modernist interior design and households oriented around les gadgets, the arrival of a new green and pink Chevrolet is initially ‘treated by the camera as a fantastic and singular visitation’ from out of the blue (Ross, 1996: 31). The idea that the brand-new, shining automobile is like a visitor from another world is reflected in one of the most famous accounts of the car’s role as a distillation of wider socio-cultural currents. In a striking newspaper piece from the mid-1950s that later became part of the collection Mythologies, Barthes (1993 [1957]: 88) reflects on the display at a car fair of the new Citroën DS (Déesse – ‘the goddess’). Barthes is concerned to develop a semiotic reading of what the car signifies, what messages are inscribed into its very form. He remarks that:
I think that cars today are almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals: I mean the supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists, and consumed in image if not in usage by a whole population which appropriates them as a purely magical object.

The ‘magical’ nature of the DS makes it the modern equivalent of a religious conception of perfection. ‘It is obvious that the new Citroen has fallen from the sky inasmuch as it appears at first sight as a superlative object . . . an object is the best messenger of a world above that of nature: one can easily see in an object at once a perfection and an absence of origin’ (1993 [1957]: 88). The spiritual elements of the DS rest in its design, in that its smooth lines and sleek façade are suggestive of an object that has not been made by human hands, with all the imperfections and flaws that hand-production suggests. Instead, the form of the DS suggests a world beyond human frailty, a Platonic realm of pure forms where harmonious geometry reigns supreme. The point Barthes is making here echoes that of Marx – the commodity form has theological elements about it, in that it is a fetish which disguises the conditions of its own genesis. For Barthes, automobile design is one of the most supreme expressions of the fetishism of commodities, whereby the prosaic conditions of exploitative production are transmogrified into the supernatural arena of streamlined impeccability. In the late 1960s, a period by which the car had come to figure as a much more prosaic object in everyday life in France, Jean Baudrillard developed the vein of semiotic analysis of automobile design first indicated by Barthes. Intended to provide a taxonomy of everyday objects such as furniture and household items, his book Le Système des objets (1996 [1968]) reflects the great strides that consumer capitalism had made in France since the war, in that Baudrillard (1996 [1968]: 3) says apropos of all the various goods that now crowded modern French interiors, that as yet ‘we lack the vocabulary to name them all’. Baudrillard devotes a part of the book to the discussion of the significance of the automobile in contemporary French

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social life, regarding the car as now just as important to the average consumer-citizen as was the home. The feature of (primarily American) cars that particularly captures Baudrillard’s attention is the phenomenon of tail-fins.8 The irony of the tailfin is that ‘scarcely had [the car] emancipated itself from the forms of earlier kinds of vehicle than the automobile-object began connoting nothing more than the result so achieved – that is to say, nothing more than itself as victorious function’ (Baudrillard, 1996 [1968]: 59). A curious logic is at work here, for ‘the car’s fins became the sign of victory over space’, yet ‘they were purely a sign, because they bore no direct relationship to that victory [and] indeed if anything they ran counter to it, tending as they did to make vehicles both heavier and more cumbersome’ (1996 [1968]: 59). Tail-fins therefore were signifiers not of ‘real speed, but of a sublime, measureless speed. They suggested a miraculous automatism, a sort of grace’ (1996 [1968]: 59). A fetishization of speed is carried out by the material signifier of tail-fins which paradoxically reduce the technical efficiency of the car. Like Barthes, then, Baudrillard sees in car design elements of a theological discourse as to sublimity and purity. Also, in like fashion to Barthes’ ideas in Mythologies (e.g. 1993 [1957]: 54) to the effect that French life is increasingly being colonized by objects and systems of signs which bear no correspondence to, and which obliterate, ‘nature’, Baudrillard’s discussion of tail-fins indicates that natural objects like birds’ and sharks’ fins are appropriated into the design of cars, and in so doing are de-natured, and rendered into a purely abstract and artificial series of signifiers as to sleek movement through space. In this way, the car-commodity plays a part in destroying an older and more apparently ‘natural’ environment, in favour of a wholly man-made context in which natural phenomena only appear as stylized parodies. Here we have an early indication of Baudrillard’s central thematic preoccupation, namely the construction and operation of a society based around simulacra, symbols which have lost all touch with an exterior reality they purport to represent, and which thus come to signify only themselves and their kind (Baudrillard, 1983). The implication of Baudrillard’s comments on car design is that the prefix ‘auto’ in the word ‘automobile’ points not only to a vehicle that ‘moves itself’, but also to an auto-referential symbolic form that creates its own universe of meaning at the expense of the functioning of other, more apparently ‘natural’, semantic systems. The aesthetic elements in movement come to be associated less with the organic body of the animal, and more with the inorganic body of the auto, which in turn presents itself as a perfected form superior to ‘mere’ nature. In this fashion, the ‘natural’ is more and more processed out of existence, replaced by a self-consciously artificial imaginary which has the automobile at its centre as the symbolic quintessence of dynamic force. To Hell on the Highway While semioticians like Barthes and Baudrillard grappled with the signifying potency of the automobile, other thinkers on the left who sought to


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reconfigure Marxian models of social critique for a consumerist age began to deal critically with the car as it became more and more ingrained into the fabric of French social life. For many of these leftist thinkers, the automobile seemed to be a very potent symbol of the destructive effects of stateled modernization processes (Mathy, 1993; Rigby, 1991). The auto seemed to be both one of the prime symbols, and one of the central guarantors, of what Alain Touraine (1971) called the ‘programmed society’, a social order dominated by the twin factors of a technocratic state and an all-encompassing consumerism. The car seemed to herald the construction of a ‘French high-road to Americanization’ (Lefebvre, 1971 [1968]: 67), a development that the left looked at with some trepidation. One of the leading leftist thinkers of the era, Henri Lefebvre (1971 [1968]: 100), expressed the views of many intellectuals on the left: ‘the motor-car is the epitome of “objects”, the Leading-Object’, the distillation and apotheosis of the consumerist mentality that seemed rapidly to be engulfing French society from the 1950s onwards. In a situation where fetishized objects were taken to fulfil the ‘false needs’ inculcated into individuals by consumer capitalism, the auto was seen to take ‘place of honour in the system of substitutes’ for authentic pleasures (Lefebvre, 1971 [1968]: 104). From this point of view, in the context of a society increasingly programmed by the state around the needs of capital, ‘nothing can beat the motor-car’ for reinforcing the worst and most reactionary habits and practices (1971 [1968]: 100). One version of this critique of the car can be found in the ideas of the Situationist International, a group of ultra-leftist intellectuals and artists formed in the late 1950s who sought to develop Marx’s analysis of commodity fetishism in such a way that it could come to grasp the novel elements in consumerist society that had arisen in the post-war period (Plant, 1992). One of the key figures in this group, Guy Debord, began from the late 1950s onwards to think about the car in terms of its role as the ‘supreme good of an alienated life’ (Debord, 1989 [1959]: 56). In the short article entitled ‘Theses on Traffic’, which he wrote in 1959, Debord identified what he took to be the central contradiction that lay at the heart of automotive culture. On the one hand, the car had come to figure as ‘the most notable material symbol of the notion of happiness that developed capitalism tends to spread’ throughout modern societies (1989 [1959]: 56). Yet on the other hand, the car operates as a means of further developing the extent of the exploitation of the labouring masses. While upper workingclass and lower middle-class people had tended to see the ownership of an automobile as a means to augmenting their lives, for instance, through facilitating trips to places of recreation during their leisure hours, car usage had quite another, somewhat more subterranean, effect. By having to expend time getting to and from work by car, and having to suffer the miseries concomitant with increasing congestion of the roads as more and more people took to this form of transport, the worker ended up paradoxically giving a greater proportion of his or her day over to work-related activities. As Debord saw it, the car had played a very important role in augmenting

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processes of extraction of surplus value from workers in ways Marx could not have fully anticipated: ‘commuting time . . . is a surplus labour which correspondingly reduces the amount of “free” time’ available to the driver (1989 [1959]: 56). Consequently, a form of transportation that was represented to workers as a boon for leisure purposes was actually a disguised vehicle of further extraction of time and effort in the interests of the economically dominant. From this perspective, when the car was used for commuting, it functioned as a Trojan horse in the service of the exploiting classes. Debord took the car to task in analogous ways in his book La Société du spectacle (1995 [1967]), published just before, and widely taken to be prophetic of, the upheavals of May 1968. In this context, Debord argues that the car is complicit in all that is becoming disastrously wrong with contemporary France, for ‘giant shopping centres created ex nihilo and surrounded by acres of parking space . . . these temples of frenetic consumption’ are moral and spiritual wastelands, where the only values to be found are expressed in the facile tag-lines and jingles of advertising executives (1995 [1967]: 123). Similar sorts of ideas as to the spaces created by large-scale automobile use were put forward by Henri Lefebvre at around the same period (Gardiner, 2000). For Lefebvre, a central fact of French modernity in the 1960s and 1970s was the car’s colonization of everyday life. From this perspective, automobile use had come to reconfigure very profoundly many aspects of how life is lived. Echoing the views of Debord, Lefebvre (1971 [1968]: 101) argues that the ‘disintegration of city life’ in its more communal forms (meeting-halls, public parks, market-places, etc.) derives from these being swept away by, among other things, the construction of autoroutes through cities, the enlarging of existing city streets to meet the needs of increased motor traffic, and the cocooning of individual motorists within their own privatized vehicular spaces. For Lefebvre (here drawing on the ideas as to different species of spaces developed by Maurice Merleau-Ponty [1996 (1945)]), this is a triumph of the ‘geometric space’ favoured by technocratic public servants working hand in glove with car manufacturers, over the ‘lived spaces’ of community-based association. Within the geometric spatial imaginary, ‘space is conceived in terms of motoring needs and traffic problems’ only. Under contemporary social conditions, ‘traffic circulation [has come to be] one of the main functions of a society and, as such, involves the priority of parking spaces . . . streets and roadways’ over all other considerations (Lefebvre 1971 [1968]: 100). The inner city comes more and more to be characterized by ‘commercial centres packed tight with commodities, money and cars’ (Lefebvre, 1993 [1974]: 50). Within such urban conditions, argues Lefebvre (1993 [1974]: 313), the car driver’s experience of the cityscape loses the richness and multidimensionality open to the stroller, for it is characterized by the deadening rationality of geometrically ordered space:


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. . . the driver is concerned only with steering himself to his destination, and in looking about sees only what he needs to for that purpose; he thus perceives only his route, which has been . . . mechanized and technicized, and he sees it from one angle only – that of its functionality: speed, readability, facility [and so on]. . . . [Thus] space appears solely in its reduced forms. Volume leaves the field to surface, and any overall view surrenders to visual signals spaced out along fixed trajectories already laid down in the ‘plan’.

As Baudrillard (1996 [1968]: 66) put it, making the same sort of point, the car has the capacity to transfigure space and time in such a way that the world is reduced to ‘two-dimensionality, to an image, stripping away its relief and its historicity’. Pursuing these themes in writings from the early 1970s, Lefebvre regards the re-creation of space in the present day as a situation whereby the city tends to get ‘sliced up, degraded and eventually destroyed’, by the ‘proliferation of fast roads and of places to park and garage cars, and their corollary, a reduction of tree-lined streets, green spaces, and parks and gardens’ (Lefebvre, 1993 [1974]: 359). The conclusion Lefebvre draws in his work of this period is that increasingly ‘it is almost as though automobiles and motorways occupied the entirety of space’ (1993 [1974]: 374). This conquest of physical space by the car could be seen as the apotheosis of Americanization processes, whereby the French urban environment came more and more to resemble the concrete and asphalt landscape of large American conurbations. Writing this time in the 1980s, Baudrillard (1994 [1986]) makes the point of the car’s usurpation of older urban spaces (in this case, those of Los Angeles) in this way: the ‘city was here before the freeway system, no doubt, but it now looks as though the metropolis has actually been built round this arterial network’. From this perspective, which is shared by Lefebvre, the car, which once was an adjunct of the urban environment, has come to be not only its defining feature but also its master. On the nightmarish view held by Lefebvre in the early 1970s, ‘the motor-car has . . . conquered everyday life, on which it imposes its laws. . . . Today the greater part of everyday life is accompanied by the noise of engines’ (1971 [1968]: 101). This is the same conclusion reached by JeanLuc Godard in his film Week-end, dating from 1967. Modern urban society is represented, in a bravura 8-minute long single take, as a gridlocked hell of jammed traffic, the ennui of commuting, exhaust fumes and bloody highway accidents.9 Clearly, for leftist intellectuals of this period, the car had come to signify a malaise into which France had been brought by the combined forces of technocratic state modernization, misguided industrialization and thoughtless consumerism. The implication of these ideas of Lefebvre, as well as those of Debord (and, in a way, those of Barthes and Baudrillard too), is that ‘Nature’, in the guise of the farms and marketplaces of an older, more bucolic France, has been swallowed up by the car-park, the ring-road

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and the out-of-town mall, all of these indicating an obliterating Americanization of French physical space. In the present day, it would be a very easy matter merely to write off the ideas of Lefebvre set out above as embodying a conservative lament for a fictitious golden age of sociability, a Gemeinschaft of lived spaces ruined by the dynamics of an automobilepowered, geometrically ordered Gesellschaft. However, such analyses of the spaces of driving arguably remain relevant today in that they have been usefully developed in recent years, in more ‘neutral’ and ‘anthropological’ ways, by the ethnologist Marc Augé. The latter gives an account of the ‘non-places’ characteristic of the social configuration he dubs ‘supermodernity’, such as airport waiting lounges and the interiors of jumbo jets. For Augé (1995) the driver cruising through France on the main autoroutes experiences a means of perception highly characteristic of the de-natured, de-historicized, geometricized, abstract condition of supermodernity. On the one hand, the major arterial networks tend to bypass most cities and towns, thus for the sake of speed depriving the driver of experiencing those places first-hand; such places merely become ‘names on a map’, and nothing is known of them beyond that. Yet at the same time, the network of autoroute road signs is at pains to point out ‘historical sites’ and ‘places of interest’. Augé concludes that ‘motorway travel is . . . doubly remarkable: it avoids, for functional reasons, all the principal places to which it takes us; and it makes comments on them’ (1995: 97; see Merriman, 2004). The nature of ‘driverly’ perception, therefore, is that it potentially gets to ‘experience’ large chunks of geography only as a series of abstract signs that flash by intermittently. Like the airline passenger, the motorway driver has been allowed to cover great distances at the expense of having anything other than a highly mediated engagement with any specific place on his or her travels. Space becomes flattened out and abstracted to a high degree, and specificities and localities are traduced and rendered into ciphers in the gliding monotony of the highway. Cars and Contempt In the above, we began to trace out the contours of accounts of the nature of the experiences involved in automotive transportation. This leads us to consider the ways in which, according to Lefebvre and other contemporaneous French thinkers, the car has come to alter the experienced world of the people who have come to rely upon it. In the part of his book Everyday Life in the Modern World (1971 [1968]) devoted to automotive culture, Lefebvre argues that in contemporary France ‘the motor-car’s roles are legion’, for it ‘directs behaviour in various spheres from economics to speech’ (1971 [1968]: 103, 100). In terms of the latter factor, what Lefebvre had in mind was the various signifying systems that codify the arrangement of cars on highways, not just the Highway Code – ‘the epitome of compulsive sub-codes disguising by their self-importance our society’s lack of directive’ – but also other forms of discourse ‘such as legal, journalistic or literary tracts, advertisements, etc.’. Given the


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proliferation from the 1950s onwards of texts relating to automobile transport, from the documents of traffic law to glossy magazines devoted to the latest automotive models, Lefebvre notes that the car ‘has not only produced a system of communication’ dedicated to itself, ‘but also organisms and institutions that use it and that it uses’ (1971 [1968]: 103). As a result of this exponential growth in cultural and institutional forms pertaining to the car, according to Lefebvre the latter had come to colonize more and more areas of everyday life in contemporary France. Echoing Barthes, Lefebvre argues that the car has come to figure as a central nexus of commodity consumption, further developing the ramifications that this system has had for what people think is important in their lives.
The car is a status symbol, it stands for comfort, power, authority and speed, it is consumed as a sign in addition to its practical use, it is something magic, a denizen from the land of make-believe . . . it symbolizes happiness and procures happiness by symbols. (1971 [1968]: 102–3)10

Lefebvre points out the intimate connections between type of car owned and social status. One can look down with disdain on the person who has a less stylish, less powerful or less technologically advanced car than oneself. The perceived inferiority of the car becomes mentally transferred to its driver, such that the person who drives a modest vehicle can be regarded with contempt by the driver of a more symbolically potent model. One’s social standing in the eyes of others is strongly bound up with what sort of car one possesses.11 It is not just the particular model of the car, or how it looks, that has become important for a driver’s sense of self-worth; rather, the fetishized idea of ‘performance’ has arisen as a way in which individuals seek to gain some individuality for themselves by reference to the power and handling capacities of their vehicles, in a social context where ‘true’ individuality is increasingly stymied (Lefebvre, 1971 [1968]: 102). While the car is the commodity par excellence, and is thus a vital means of ensuring the continuity of regulated forms of everyday practice, nonetheless it creates its own illusions of ‘freedom’. For Lefebvre (1971 [1968]: 101), the motorist is caught in a curious paradox, created by the nature of the car itself:
Motorized traffic enables people and objects to congregate and mix without meeting, thus constituting a striking example of simultaneity without exchange, each element enclosed in its own compartment, tucked away in its shell; such conditions contribute to the disintegration of city life and foster a . . . ‘psychosis’ that is peculiar to the motorist; on the other hand the real but limited and pre-established dangers do not prevent most people from ‘taking risks’, for the motor-car with its retinue of wounded and dead, its trail of blood, is all that remains of everyday life, its paltry ration of excitement and hazard.

On this account, the highway is based around the orderly flow of traffic, an

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analogy to the ordered flow of commodities in an economy based around constant consumption. Yet the advertising mechanisms that help maintain the flow of consumption often draw upon images of individualized freedom, flight and speed to sell the latest auto models. This helps to stimulate disorder and anarchy in the traffic system, if only mostly fleetingly and in its interstices. Nonetheless, the car has come to occupy a somewhat ambiguous position in modern life, in that it ‘is a condensation of all the attempts to evade [forms of] everyday life’ that are more and more regulated, because it has been defined as the last refuge of ‘hazard, risk and significance’ in an administered society (1971 [1968]: 103). What lies at the back of Lefebvre’s analysis here is the internationally recognized notoriety of French driving conditions in the 1960s and 1970s, with France having the highest number of road deaths out of all West European countries consistently year after year. On a Monday, newspapers would have a special section devoted to the prior weekend’s death toll on the roads (Vallin and Chesnais, 1975).12 The issue of the often aggressive individuality of (primarily male) drivers was taken up in the mid-1970s by the sociologist Luc Boltanski. Boltanski (1975) discussed the phenomenon of drivers engaged in competition with others on the road as an expression of the culture of competitive individualism fostered by a class society organized around accumulation of private wealth and consumer goods, and upward social mobility. The dangerous nature of driving was the result of races between drivers who sought to ‘maximize their gains in space, which would be equivalent to maximizing their profits in time’ (Ross, 1996: 61). From this viewpoint, an aggressively acquisitive society breeds certain styles of everyday practice, notable among which is a bellicose driving style. At around the same period, the political analyst André Gorz, writing under the nom de plume Michel Bosquet (1977 [1973]: 21), put the same point in these terms:
. . . mass motoring produces an absolute triumph of bourgeois ideology on the level of daily practice by creating and nourishing within the individual the illusion that he [sic] can prevail and advance himself at everyone’s expense. The brutal, competitive egotism of the driver symbolically murdering the ‘idiots’ obstructing his headlong passage through the traffic represents the flowering of a universally bourgeois behaviour. (‘You’ll never forge socialism with these people’, said an East German friend as he gazed in horror at his first Paris rush-hour.)

While the Althusserian elements in such analysis render it a little crude (‘bourgeois ideology’ is seen directly to produce particular everyday practices, in this case competitive and belligerent driving), nonetheless it remains useful today for focusing attention on the wider socio-cultural contexts which produce such phenomena as ‘road rage’ and other forms of violence on the highways. The factors that lie behind the actions of the driver who sees red vis-à-vis other motorists to the point of deliberately


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inflicting physical damage on them could be seen not as residing purely in the psyche of the individual alone, but as also part of a wider socio-cultural order characterized by competitive individualism and selfish consumerism, especially given that that form of consumerism often involves deprecation of other people’s choice of car models (Collett and Marsh, 1986). The Quotidian Car Thus far we have examined some of the more gloomy prognoses as to the development of automotive culture in post-war France made by certain intellectuals of the period. Yet even in the depths of the most despairing critiques of automotive culture there lay hidden more upbeat accounts of the restructuring of social and spatial relations in the age of the auto. Certainly Lefebvre’s analysis of the encroachment of large-scale motor transport on the fabric of urban France can be seen as a nostalgic hankering after a pre-automobile cityscape, but it can also be seen as an attempt to identify the contradictions in car culture. The aim of Lefebvre’s overall analysis of the conditions of everyday life was to ‘expose its ambiguities – its baseness and exuberance, its poverty and fruitfulness’ (1971 [1968]: 13). The privatization that travel undergoes in the car era in fact could be taken to be productive of both aggressive individualism in drivers and the possibility that the car operates as a refuge from an overly administered form of existence, a refuge that allows a little recklessness and ‘fun’ to be injected into the otherwise highly regulated life of the commuter. A shift from a ‘structuralist’ analytic which stresses the imperatives of systems upon individuals to a ‘post-structuralist’ paradigm, which looks at how such systems are negotiated by particular persons in everyday settings, is characteristic of a substantial element of French social thinking from the mid-1970s onwards.13 In his analyses of the ‘rhythms’ of city life dating from the later 1970s, Lefebvre (1995, 2004) was concerned to depict the tempos of city life as following the beats both of officially imposed social order (e.g. the effects of policing of the streets) and of unofficial, localized resistances to it (e.g. driving through red lights). This sort of analysis was also developed throughout the 1970s by Michel de Certeau. His stated concern was with showing the ways in which individuals work within, subvert and connive against systems of regulation and control (de Certeau, 1984: xii). While ‘places’ are locales where regimes of power inscribe themselves, de Certeau sought to uncover how these can be turned into ‘spaces’, locales used in ‘unofficial’ ways by particular persons. Thus the focus turns to the ways in which ‘the street geometrically defined by urban planning is transformed into a space by walkers’ (1984: 117). On such a view, which seeks to locate unexpected pockets of creativity and movement within an apparently wholly administered urban order, city planners and other such authoritative groups are seen to be:
. . . incapable of imposing the rationality of reinforced concrete on multiple and fluid cultural systems that organize the living space of inner areas

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(apartments, stairways and the like) or public domains (streets, squares, etc.) and that innervate them with an infinite number of itineraries. (de Certeau, 1997 [1974]: 133)

Thus the ‘geometric’ spaces identified by Lefebvre turn out on de Certeau’s account to be subvertible by unofficial, anti-hegemonic practices which render them back into ‘lived spaces’. The spirit of de Certeau’s writings directs our attention not only to ‘unofficial practices’ of driving such as aggressive overtaking and the like pointed to by Lefebvre, but also to the mundane cases where what should happen does not: late departures, missed turn-offs, unreliable maps and all the other mishaps that exist beyond and in spite of the rationalized system of the contemporary highway (for a more detailed account of the implications of de Certeau’s analysis of car culture, see Thrift’s article in this volume). A further element of the car’s appropriation by people in everyday life was first indicated as early as 1963, in an article by Barthes (2002 [1963]) in the journal Réalités. There Barthes argues, in marked contrast to his newspaper piece from the mid-1950s mentioned above, that the car has become an absolutely ordinary and taken-for-granted element of French life. He identifies the binary opposition that he feels above all others has come to categorize different aspects of the car: the opposition between ‘sporty’ (sportif) and ‘homely’ (domestique). The former side of the car, which obviously comes to the fore more in some models than others, connotes unfettered individualism, the driver being representable as a free spirit breaking away from the rest of the pack. (The connection between this mentality and Boltanski’s and Gorz’s aggressive individualists is obvious.) The more ‘homely’ aspect of the car, which is foregrounded most typically in the family saloon or estate, by contrast, allows a different, more gentle sort of individualism. It suggests a cosy cocoon of one’s own, where through means of bricolage, the owner creates his or her own personalized environment by adding extra fittings such as sun-blinds on the rear windows and decorations such as stickers commemorating either places visited or allegiance to a sports team. This is the sort of car that gives one a feeling of being in a space of one’s own, a familiar environment over which one has control, even if one has travelled hundreds of miles. Once again we see Baudrillard’s (1996 [1968]: 67) writing of the late 1960s echoing Barthes’ ideas. The paradoxical nature of the domestique aspects of the automobile is that ‘it makes it possible to be simultaneously at home and further and further away from home’. The ambiguity of the car rests in its simultaneous ability to be both ‘a projectile . . . [and] a dwelling place’ (1996 [1968]: 69).Thus ‘the car rivals the house as an alternative zone of everyday life: the car, too, is an abode, but an exceptional one; it is a closed realm of intimacy, but one released from the constraints that usually apply to the intimacy of home, one endowed with a formal freedom of great intensity . . .’ (1996 [1968]: 67). The point that both Barthes and Baudrillard each in their own ways want to make is that the interior of the car is a domestic arena infused with


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the capacity – at least theoretically – to take one wherever one may so desire. This illustrates the degree to which, by the 1960s, the car was viewable in France not just as a hostile entity but as much a familiar part of a person’s life as the furniture in their home or the sights of their local neighbourhood. This was not a perspective limited merely to the writings of Barthes and Baudrillard, but can be seen as part of a more general sensibility characterized by a view of the car as a ‘place of one’s own’.14 In Jacques Tati’s final film of note, tellingly entitled Trafic (1970), although the generic modern city is represented as constituted of a never-ending sea of cars, the idiosyncratic things that their human inhabitants do inside the cars is dwelt upon. For example, there is a celebrated sequence in which the audience gets to watch different drivers stuck in traffic picking their noses. Another set-piece likens the ways the windscreen wipers of particular cars work to the corporeal and personal characteristics of their drivers – the wipers of a fat man’s car move ponderously, while those of a very aged gentleman do so only with the greatest effort. The technology is humanized by Tati in order to emphasize that after purchase, the car becomes indigenized, reworked and recast to some degree to suit the personalities of its users (Bellos, 1999).15 The same sort of ‘humanistic’ appraisal of the everyday activities of people, including drivers, is apparent in the novelist and essayist Georges Perec’s work from the mid-1970s. Perec’s account of the minutiae of quotidian life dwells in part on the role of the car in everyday existence. For example, while sitting on the outside terrace of a cafe on the junction of the Rue de Bac and Boulevard Saint-Germain, he commands himself to ‘describe the number of operations the driver of a vehicle is subjected to when he parks merely in order to go and buy a hundred grams of fruit jelly’. Perec (1997 [1974]: 51–2) lists the rigmarole the driver goes through: parks by means of a certain amount of toing and froing switches off the engine withdraws the key, setting off a first anti-theft device extricates himself from the vehicle winds up the left-hand front window locks it checks that the left-hand rear door is locked; if not: opens it raises the handle inside slams the door checks it’s locked securely circles the car; if need be, checks that the boot is locked properly checks that the right-hand rear door is locked; if not, recommences the sequence of operations already carried out on the left-hand rear door

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winds up the right-hand front window shuts the right-hand front door locks it before walking away, looks all around him as if to make sure the car is still there and that no-one will come and take it away. Perec’s intention is to gaze so hard at the ‘ordinary’ that it stops being prosaic and starts to be seen as peculiar, odd and rather extraordinary; he is in essence engaged in an ‘anthropological’ de-familiarization of the commonplace. His phenomenology of car use asks us to examine closely our own everyday automotive activities, and to reflect on the little rituals that make up our quotidian existence both inside the car and without. A glint of wry humour makes its way into Perec’s account above towards the end, with the driver being seen to turn to see if his car is actually still where he left it a second before, leaving the reader perhaps with a little jolt of recognition as s/he remembers seeing this done or doing this him- or herself. Conclusion This benevolent view of the car’s role in people’s lives put forward in literary terms by Perec and visually dramatized by Tati is a far cry from the often apocalyptic denunciations of car culture formulated by other French intellectuals in the period from the 1950s through to the 1970s. This fact indicates that French intellectual engagements with the rise and development of mass automobility encompassed a diverse set of different possible responses, ranging from the most hostile to the most empathetic, as to the car and its possible effects on society, culture and everyday life. I have been concerned in this article to set out the range of these responses, in order both to present them to an Anglophone audience, and to pull the different ideas together from their various sources in such a way that otherwise occluded patterns might become visible. We have seen that in post-war France, the automobile could variously be regarded as, among other things, spectacular commodity, threat to French values and spaces, avatar of Americanization, symbol and agent of reproduction of aggressive individualism, home-from-home and an essential part of everyday life, a ‘humanized’ object that expresses the individuality of its driver and around which peculiar little rituals had developed. As a result, a very wide variety of interpretations of the car’s socio-cultural significance were possible, and were put forward, in post-war France. We can identify in broad outline a chronological aspect to these responses: those that regard as the car as a relatively ‘alien’ and unfamiliar object naturally enough date from the period when mass motorization was beginning to develop, whereas those accounts which see the car as a prosaic and ‘homely’ entity date from a period when automobility had become thoroughly woven into the fabric of French quotidian existence. This article has at one level sought to present a succinct history of the development of car culture at a particular time in a particular place, namely post-war France, and its impact, as perceived by thinkers of the period, on


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wider cultural and social dynamics. Yet although the ideas we have examined were originally responses to particular sets of socio-cultural conditions, nonetheless I believe they possess interest and utility when regarded beyond their original context of production.16 The semiotics of car design first pioneered by Barthes and then taken up by Baudrillard I think remains a valuable means of investigating the significance that car designs in the present day may have in wider cultural contexts. For example, we might take inspiration from Barthes and Baudrillard to try to understand what the automotive designs that go under the verbal label ‘people carrier’ might tell us about attitudes towards family life held by certain types of driver today. In a similar fashion, and as indicated above, we could today further develop the ideas of analysts such as Lefebvre, Gorz and Boltanski as to linkages between more general cultural patterns of individualism and competitiveness, and the specific case of aggressive driving styles. It would, for example, be interesting to carry out empirical research to ascertain whether incidents of ‘road rage’ today tend to occur most frequently among the social group that both Boltanski and Gorz may have had in mind back in the 1970s as the least chivalrous of drivers, namely ‘young executives’ of the lower middle class, whose social position arguably compels them always to be oriented towards ‘putting one over’ on other people, be these colleagues, customers, or other drivers on the roads. I am also particularly struck by the possibility of taking further the ‘phenomenological’ perspectives on automotive experience developed by certain thinkers dealt with above. Perec’s detailed descriptions of what car drivers actually do in their everyday automotive practices is already a useful step in this direction. But I also have in mind here the potential implicit in Lefebvre’s utilization of Merleau-Pontian phenomenology for the understanding of how drivers experience movement on the road. Lefebvre opened up this perspective in one direction, namely how the geometric spaces of the road are viewed by the car driver, an issue that has been taken up more recently by Augé. But what could be developed further is a more general Merleau-Pontian account of the dispositions and activities that the whole being of the driver engages in while on the road. A Merleau-Pontian (1996 [1945]) analysis, which is based upon seeing the human being as a confluence of mind and body rather than as an abstract intellect confronting its own inert flesh, would seek to depict the ways in which the mind and body of the driver are as one when they are involved in the acts that together constitute practical and partially pre-reflective modes of inhabiting the car. Different modes of driving, such as those based on differences in gender socialization, could be investigated, as could the ways in which the driver ‘lives’ in his or her car, whether it is in motion or stationary (Sobchak, 1994). This suggestion as to a Merleau-Pontian phenomenology of driverly experience is just one example of how perspectives on the car first developed in post-war France could be developed and extended in the present day as we seek more fully to grasp the fundamental roles the car plays in social orgaization and the life of the individual. Intellectuals of many

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different hues in post-war France thought that the car was ‘good to think with’. I hope that this article has demonstrated that their ideas as to automobility are good to think with too.
Notes 1. Virilio (1986 [1977]: 14) argued in his work from the late 1970s that the modern state is only secondarily the institution whereby one class oppresses all others. Rather, the state should be understood as a means of transportive order, in that it is essentially a mechanism of ‘highway surveillance’, which sees social order as contiguous with ‘the control of traffic (of people, of goods), and revolution, revolt, with traffic jams, illegal parking, multiple clashes, collisions’. Likewise, the city is primarily ‘a human dwelling-place penetrated by channels of rapid communication . . . a habitable circulation’ (1986 [1977]: 5). Seeing the urban and political orders as configurations of vehicular movement allows Virilio to characterize human history in terms of differing transport regimes. For example, the functioning of the Nazi state hinges on its motorization of the German people through mass ownership of a Volkswagen – ‘no more riots, no need for much repression; to empty the streets, it’s enough to promise everyone the highway’ (1986 [1977]: 25). 2. The affinities between this position and those of the Italian and Russian Futurist artists working in about the same period are obvious. The speeding vehicle is seen to be a harbinger of a revolution in thought, representation and social practice (see Martin, 1968). 3. This optimistic view of the car was an object of satire and scepticism even in the 1920s. For example, the Russian author Ilya Ehrenburg’s (1976 [1929]) novel The Life of the Automobile, written while he was resident in Paris, set out in highly caustic ways the negative impacts the car was having on different countries around the world, including France. 4. Quotes from works in French are the present author’s translations. All page references are to the French editions. 5. As early as 1929, Ehrenburg (1976 [1929]: 3) noted the ubiquity of advertising for cars in France: ‘The streets of Paris, swarming with automobiles, were covered with posters [advertising automobiles] as cajoling and coddling as the hiss of the nocturnal serpent.’ 6. Kristin Ross (1996) shows in some detail the impact that cars in general, and American models in particular, played in French popular culture, especially cinema, of the later 1950s and early 1960s. In films such as Jacques Demy’s Lola (1960) and Robert Dhéry’s La Belle Americaine (1961), the American automobile is treated as a fantastic and alien intrusion into quotidian French existence. The car also made its way into Francophone novels of the period. Françoise Sagan’s immensely popular Bonjour tristesse (1955), for example, has a car crash as its central plot device. As relatively early as 1953, the crime writer Georges Simenon (2003 [1953]) had based a whole novel, Feux rouges (Red Lights) around the American dependence on car transportation and its peculiar effects on the American psyche (Marnham, 2003). For a study of popular cultural representations of cars in America at the same period, see Dettelbach (1976). 7. Even as early as the 1920s, American intellectuals were describing the car’s profound transformation of the quotidian aspects of life in the United States. In Robert and Helen Lynd’s (1957 [1929]) classic sociological analysis of ‘Middletown’


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(actually Muncie, Indiana), the car is seen to have had wide-ranging impacts on everyday existence, from reducing church attendance by facilitating longer-range Sunday pleasure trips to freeing car-driving teenagers from parental scrutiny. As one respondent put it, in answer to the question as to what factors were changing the community, ‘I can tell you what’s happening in just four letters: A-U-T-O!’ (1957 [1929]: 251). 8. As Gartman (1994, 2004) points out, tail-fins on American cars were probably first derived from the fins of fighter aircraft rather than animals’ fins. 9. The film, with its emphasis on revolutionary violence coming to wreck ordered bourgeois life, as symbolized in the car, could be seen as prophetic of the events of May 1968. As Jean Collet (1970: 134) noted in the period immediately after the events, ‘The cars that burned in the Ile-de-France of Weekend, filmed in October 1967, did not wait for another October before setting the torch to other cars.’ 10. Barthes (2002 [1963]) in his 1963 article on automobiles denied this point, arguing that the car had by this time ceased to function as an important status symbol in French cultural life. 11. Although cars feature in Pierre Bourdieu’s (1996 [1979]) analyses of the field of cultural consumption in France in the 1960s and 1970s to a certain extent, they do not play a very major role, an interesting lacuna in Bourdieu’s account of tastes in cultural objects. 12. The more passive style of American driving, in contrast to its more aggressive French counterpart, catches Baudrillard’s attention in his travelogue America (1994 [1986]: 53). The way in which Americans drive on freeways – cruising along, not bothering to overtake or cut up other drivers – gives a profound sense of the nature of the American collectivity. In a hyper-individualistic social order, the smooth flow of traffic ‘is the only real society or warmth here, this collective propulsion, this compulsion – of lemmings plunging suicidally together’. 13. One might see this ‘post-Marxist’ turn towards prosaic and everyday forms of ‘resistance’ against sources of official power as a means by which leftist intellectuals could retain their ‘radical’ credentials while giving up on more organized, group-oriented forms of political struggle in light of the ‘failure’ of the May 1968 events. 14. This is not, however, to claim that the intellectual dispositions of different authors (and artists) working within this sensibility were wholly congruent with each other. Tati’s humanism is of course very far away, in many respects, from Baudrillard’s semiotic anti-humanism. 15. In Playtime (1967), Tati places his comic creation Monsieur Hulot in a Le Corbusier-like Paris of chrome, metal and the insistent presence of automobiles. Yet Tati shows that under the hyper- (or super-) modern surface, the pulse of human life still continues to beat. For example, at one point in the film, the playing of carnival music is seen to transform a gridlocked roundabout into a funfair carousel, with the cars slowly but elegantly turning around like so many hobbyhorses. 16. Ironically, the scholar who today is arguably the main French thinker on issues of ‘mobilities’, namely Paul Virilio (e.g. 2000 [1995]), has pronounced that the car has now, at the symbolic level, become outmoded by new forms of transportation, most notably Internet forms of communication which allow the individual to move instantaneously through forms of space hitherto unknown. While Virilio’s ideas in this direction are often very stimulating, the rhetoric he sometimes puts forward as

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David Inglis is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Aberdeen. He writes in the areas of social theory and the sociology of culture. He is the author (with John Hughson) of Confronting Culture: Sociological Vistas (Polity, 2003), and is currently writing Culture and Everyday Life for Routledge. He is co-author with Roland Robertson of Globalization and Social Theory: Redefining Social Science (Open University Press, forthcoming).

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