[csaa-forum] Panel Proposal - Everyday Transformations

Glen Fuller g.fuller at uws.edu.au
Wed Jun 23 15:39:37 CST 2004

We are seeking people who may be interested in offering a paper in a 
session on Modified-Car Culture at the annual conference of the 
Cultural Studies Association of Australasia, Everyday Transformations: 
The Twenty-First Quotidian in Perth 9-11 December 2004. This usually 
involves four speakers and papers can either be refereed or non-
refereed. Refereed papers will be published in electronic conference 
proceedings. We are searching for _two_ suitable presenters. 


Modified-Car Culture and Everyday Transformations

"It is if mobility had become the only source of empowerment and 
security available in the face of postmodernity." - Lawrence Grossberg

Modified-car culture can be defined as the set of interrelated 
discourses and practices based around the mechanical, technological, or 
aesthetic modification of cars. It has existed in a recognizable form 
for over 60 years. A history of modified-car culture would plot its 
emergence in pre-WW2 southern California and then trace its trajectory 
through the US and then the rest of the world. As Bert Moorhouse has 
shown in his excellent account of the hot-rodding enthusiasm, cultural 
industries (both media- and practice-based) have played important roles 
in its instutional formation. However, at the heart of modified-car 
culture is a specific, and sometimes sinister, relation with 
the 'street'; what Chris Stanley has dubbed the 'wild zone'. The back-
street hot-rodding practice of drag racing became the multi-billion 
dollar transnational motorsport, just as the down-hill street-racing of 
Japanese 'drifters' has recently spread across the world and continues 
to grow in popularity. Arguably, modified-car enthusiasts not only have 
an interest in cars, but also in the transformation of the very fabric 
of automobilised everyday life. 

Even though it has been severely neglected as a site of scholarly 
inquiry, modified-car culture is a highly diverse field that intersects 
with a number of the traditional interests of cultural studies 
practioners. Many approaches would be suitable: using subcultural or 
post-subcultural theory, transnational mediascapes and global/local 
sites of cultural production, ethnographic accounts of practice, 
erotics or aesthetics of law, dromology or mobilities, focuses on 
technology or gender, maybe even road safety(!), etc. 

If you are interested please contact gfuller at uws.edu.au

Undoubtedly, the conference location offers the perfect opportunity for 
those with no idea about modified-car culture to grab a coffee and 
witness the ritualised practice of cruising Fremantle's 'Cappuccino 
Strip' on what I expect to be the balmy summer nights of the 
conference's duration. 

Glen Fuller
PhD Candidate, Centre for Cultural Research
University of Western Sydney

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