Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Kristin Sziarto

Committee Members

Anne Bonds, Arijit Sen


Affect, Automobility, Governmentality, Mobility, Practice


Automobility describes the car as a particularly universalized form of mobility, a dominant ‘regime’ that locks social life into ‘coercive flexibility’. Despite its liberatory promise and its capacity to emancipate people from the restrictions of physical distance, the car is perhaps the most regulated and controlled commodity that Americans live with today, implicating them in the production of driving subjectivities. This research uses ride-along interviews to inquire into the ways that people’s emotional, bodily, and affective relationships to the practice of driving contribute to the reproduction of the regime of automobility. When we ask questions regarding how power is embodied in an automobilized society and how the disciplinary nature of modern societies organizes the human experience of driving, we must also consider the political aims of our questions. Future investigations need to consider the ways that the openness of social action be-comes entangled in systems of power. An ongoing examination of a politics of affect can point us towards understanding how particular relations of power enable particular virtualities in the regime of automobility to actualize.