At first sight, to ask how sex has been influenced by technology over time may appear to be a perplexing question. There is no doubt about the current importance of the new technologies of reproduction, sex-change operations, and the passion that electronic chat-rooms incite. However, it might be argued that this is a recent phenomenon and the past has little to reveal about "techno-sexual" relations. This book draws on a number of examples of "productive" relations between technology and sexuality: the technical and sexual organization of medieval monasteries, the moral and erotic transgression afforded by the early wind and water mill, and the romances forged in the context of the train. The authors focus on three main eras: the medieval period (around the eleventh century with its monasteries as sites of technical innovation and heretical religious movements on the borders of Christianity); early modernity (from the time of the European "discoveries" and the creation of "others" including the natives of South America and the witch); and the present and the technologically-mediated future. What might be the connection between mills, navigation techniques and trains and the realm of sexuality? How does the government of sexuality and socio-economic relations in the sixteenth century across distances find resonance in cyberspace? Once the question of technology and sexuality has been placed in a long-term perspective, the reader is invited to reconsider relations often brushed aside, or devalued for their connection with "low", popular or quotidian culture, practices and spaces. Acknowledging the uncomfortable social fact of "techno-sexuality" as a quotidian experience allows us to recuperate a range of often discounted or forgotten social actors, movements and landscapes.
This article is concerned with how to conceptualize and theorize the nature of the ‘car system’ that is a particularly key, if surprisingly neglected, element in ‘globalization’. The article deploys the notion of systems as self-reproducing or autopoietic. This notion is used to understand the origins of the 20th-century car system and especially how its awesome pattern of path dependency was established and exerted a particularly powerful and self-expanding pattern of domination across the globe. The article further considers whether and how the 20th-century car system may be transcended. It elaborates a number of small changes that are now occurring in various test sites, factories, ITC sites, cities and societies. The article briefly considers whether these small changes may in their contingent ordering end this current car system. The article assesses whether such a new system could emerge well before the end of this century, whether in other words some small changes now may produce the very large effect of a new post-car system that would have great implications for urban life, for mobility and for limiting projected climate change.
Car cultures have social, material and, above all, affective dimensions that are overlooked in current strategies to influence car-driving decisions. Car consumption is never simply about rational economic choices, but is as much about aesthetic, emotional and sensory responses to driving, as well as patterns of kinship, sociability, habitation and work. Through a close examination of the aesthetic and especially kinaesthetic dimensions of automobility, this article locates car cultures (and their associated feelings) within a broader physical/material relational setting that includes both human bodies and car bodies, and the relations between them and the spaces through which they move (or fail to move). Drawing on both the phenomenology of car use and new approaches in the sociology of emotions, it is argued that everyday car cultures are implicated in a deep context of affective and embodied relations between people, machines and spaces of mobility and dwelling in which emotions and the senses play a key part – the emotional geographies of car use. Feelings for, of and within cars (‘automotive emotions’) come to be socially and culturally generated across three scales involved in the circulations and displacements performed by cars, roads and drivers: embodied sensibilities and kinaesthetic performances; familial and sociable practices of ‘caring’ through car use; and regional and national car cultures that form around particular systems of automobility. By showing how people feel about and in cars, and how the feel of different car cultures generates habitual forms of automobilized life and different dispositions towards driving, it is argued that we will be in a better position to re-evaluate the ethical dimensions of car consumption and the moral economies of car use.