Automobility ‘south of the west’: toward a global conversation
Car culture’ and ‘American car culture’ often seem to mean much the same thing. The slippage should not come as a surprise, as the United States has been the foremost automobile nation throughout much of the twentieth century and has probably produced the greatest quantity of scholarly analysis on how cars have been taken up into people’s lives. Although the automobile was first developed in Europe, by 1904 the United States was the leading manufacturer of automobiles and just three years later it could claim to have more than all other nations combined. By the second decade of the twentieth century, as the dominant narratives have long asserted, automobility was on the way to becoming the keynote of American life—in James Fink’s words, ‘as American as apple pie, the Declaration of Independence, and the stars and stripes’.
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