Auto couture - Thinking the car in post-war France

D Inglis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The automobile has figured as an important issue of concern and a profound source of fascination for a wide range of intellectuals in France since the 1950s. The car has been understood variously as a covert vehicle of creeping Americanization and consumerization, a threatening object that obliterates nature, a harbinger of hyper-modern futures, and as a constitutive element of everyday practices. This article traces out the diverse ways in which the car has been 'good to think with' for a range of French intellectuals in the period spanning roughly from 1950 through to the 1970s. It seeks to demonstrate the richness of those currents of thought in post-war France which were concerned to comprehend the nature of car cultures. It is argued that these ways of thinking can be drawn upon in the present day by those wishing to analyse contemporary features of automobility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-219
Number of pages23
JournalTheory, Culture and Society
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • automobilities
  • Barthes
  • Baudrillard
  • cars
  • France
  • Lefebvre


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