Pandemic Automobility. Patterns of Crisis and Opportunity in the American Motor Culture


This article traces the recursive character of automobility from a perspective of cultural crises and traumas that accompany motor culture development in the USA. The American automobility system has been caught in the treadmill of ideological criticism that defined the current role of motor vehicles in forms of political activism and cultural criticism. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is different as it seems to bring restoration to the original character of motor culture with its defining features of individualism, freedom, and opportunity achieved through mobility.


automobility; Covid-19; trauma; risk; medicalization

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Published : 2021-12-19

BurzyńskiT. (2021). Pandemic Automobility. Patterns of Crisis and Opportunity in the American Motor Culture. Review of International American Studies, 14(2), 143-156.

Tomasz Burzyński
University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland  Poland

Tomasz Burzyński received his PhD in 2009 from the University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland. He works at the Institute of Literary Studies where he teaches Sociology, Media Studies, and Cultural Studies. His research interests include cultural studies and cultural theory, sociology of risk, theories of trust, and discourses of health and illness. Recent publications: “Sociologizing Automotive Heritage. Traditions of Automobile Folklore and the Challenges of Risk Society,” in: The Routledge Companion to Automobile Heritage, Culture, and Preservation, red. J. Clark, B. Stiefel. (New York and London: Routledge: 2020); “Systemic Intertextuality. A Morphogenetic Perspective,” Text Matters. A Journal of Literature Theory and Culture 10 (2020).

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