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Engaging the EverydayEnvironmental Social Criticism and the Resonance Dilemma$
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John M. Meyer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028905

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028905.001.0001

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Automobility and Freedom

Automobility and Freedom

(p.121) 6 Automobility and Freedom
Engaging the Everyday

John M. Meyer

The MIT Press

Automobility – inclusive of both the physical and cultural aspects of the practice of private ownership and use of automobiles – shapes modern life the world over. Automobility generates a flexible source of mobility, privacy, and independence that is often central to the contemporary conception of individual freedom. Yet especially when it becomes the singularly dominant mode of transportation, automobility can also become a coercive practice that consumes massive amounts of space, requires lengthy commutes, increases dependence, and expands state surveillance, in addition to its environmental impacts. This chapter explores automobility’s centrality to conceptions of freedom, both respecting its attraction and identifying spaces for the development of a discourse of freedom. The latter advances alternatives to the hegemony of the private automobile, rooted in a more expansive notion of human flourishing.

Keywords:   automobility, individual freedom, private automobile, mobility, transportation

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