Driving retirement: melancholic geographies of car immobility in an Australian suburban regional centre

Publication Name

Gender, Place and Culture


This article builds on Butlers’ concept of a ‘liveable life’ that pays attention to social power as constitutive of the psyche. I offer the concept of driving retirement melancholia to better understand why the future loss of a driving licence is often spoken of as living death. The article draws on qualitative fieldwork conducted in 2019 with drivers aged 65 years of age and over in Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. I argue that retirement from driving is a form of social melancholia or blocked grief. The argument is that families, medical practitioners and transport authorities in car dominated western societies need to better understand the imagined loss of driving as constituting an ungrieveable and unliveable life.

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