Sign up for our Email Newsletter Berghahn Books Logo

berghahn New York · Oxford

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
Globalizing Automobilism: Exuberance and the Emergence of Layered Mobility, 1900–1980

View Table of Contents

Of Related Interest

Email Newsletters

Sign up for our email newsletters to get customized updates on new Berghahn publications.

Click here to select your preferences

Globalizing Automobilism

Exuberance and the Emergence of Layered Mobility, 1900–1980

Gijs Mom

688 pages, 23 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-461-2 $199.00/£148.00 Hb Published (August 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-462-9 eBook

Hb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $45.00 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Mom has access to an extraordinarily broad palette of source materials and methods. There is no other monograph in the field of such vast comparative scope.” • Peter Norton, University of Virginia


Why has “car society” proven so durable, even in the face of mounting environmental and economic crises? In this follow-up to his magisterial Atlantic Automobilism, Gijs Mom traces the global spread of the automobile in the postwar era and investigates why adopting more sustainable forms of mobility has proven so difficult. Drawing on archival research as well as wide-ranging forays into popular culture, Mom reveals here the roots of the exuberance, excess, and danger that define modern automotive culture.

Gijs Mom is Associate Professor emeritus at Eindhoven University of Technology. His monograph Atlantic Automobilism: Emergence and Persistence of the Car, 1895–1940, was published by Berghahn Books in 2015. He is a co-editor, with Georgine Clarsen and Mimi Sheller, of the Berghahn Books series “Explorations in Mobility.”

Subject: Transport Studies History: 20th Century to Present Cultural Studies (General) Mobility Studies


List of Illustrations


Introduction: Questioning the Car: Prolegomena for a Historical Analysis of Global Mobility
     New Perspectives, New Questions
     Looking Back: Emergence and Persistence of the Adventure Machine
     Extending Adventure: The Car as Possession and Status Symbol
     Producing Commodification: Status, Narcissism, and Self-Development
     Diversifying Automotive Identities: The Non-Hegemonic Self
     New Mobility Studies: Bodily Senses, The Car as Medium, and the Challenge of Representation
     The Trouble with Travel Writing: Meandering between Fictionality and Representation
     This Study: Sources and Terminology

Part I. Emergence and Persistence (Again): The Shaping of Mobility Layerdness beyond the West

Chapter 1. Modernizing without Automobilization: Subverting and Subalternizing Mobility History (1890–1945/1950)
     Imperialist Mobilities: Japan and the Modernization of Manchuria
     Urban Mobilities: The Rickshaw and the Motorization of Asian Cities
     Between Long March and Long-Haul: Rail and Road Network Building in China
     Dual Networks of Rails and Roads: The Modal Configuration in Other Asian Countries
     Migration, Colonialism and the Struggle between Rail and Road: The Case of Africa
     More than Modern: Constructing a Latin American Adventure Machine
     The Rest and the West: Subversive and Subaltern Mobilities?

Part II: Exuberance, with a Twist: Spreading the Gospel of Automobilism

Chapter 2. Fragmenting Automotive Adventure: Western Exuberant Automobilism and Middle-Class Guilt (1945–1973)
     “Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan”
     A Multimedia Feast: Folk, Beat, Rock and Other Mobilities
     Motorizing the Worker: Fragmentation and Convergence of Western Car Cultures
     The Attack on Public Transport: Hegemonic Car Cultures in a Cold War Setting
     Experiencing the Car in a Fragmented Culture: Shifts in Autopoetic Adventures
     Songs and Movies: Rejuvenating the Adventure Machine in Popular Culture
     Flow Interrupted: Crash and the Systemic Aspects of Automobilism

Chapter 3. Layered Development: The Transnational Construction of a World Mobility System (1940s–1970s)
     What is ‘Layered Development’?
     Alternative Developments: Soviet Mobility and the Modernization of China and India
     Conceiving ‘Development’: Mobilizing the ‘Rest’
     Mediating Modernization: Japan and Asian ‘Development’
     Constructing ‘Circulation’: The IRF and the "Development" of Africa
     Developmentalism vs. Dependentismo: Latin American Mobilities and the Frustrations of Middle-Class Modernity
     Conclusions: Road, Rail, and Development

Layered, Fragmented, Subversive, Subaltern: Conclusions


Back to Top