Accepted paper:

Put some music on: listening to the radio in the car

Author:

Simone Dennis (Australian National University)

Paper short abstract:

What kinds of rhythms of driving and music draw cars, the practice of automobilic operation, and singing and listening so seamlessly together? These questions are of as much interest to anthropologists as they are to Big Auto.

Paper long abstract:

In the US, and indeed across the western world, the car is the place where the largest percentage of people listen to music. Ford recently released its 2017 study (ahead of the release of its new, high end audio system to be installed in selected models from 2018) announcing the result that seven out of 10 people between the ages of 13 and 24 and nearly 8 out of 10 drivers over the age of 45 listen to music in the car to justify its enormous investment in the new system. Ahead of that result, Edison Research found that, AM/FM radio still commands most of consumers' time when they are in a car, accounting for 57 percent of their time. In this paper, I want to explore a range of music-car entailments to arrive at an unapologetically phenomenological analysis of the musicalized and automobilised person. This figure is thoroughly entailed in the big and micro politics of driving, the relations of knowledge and information in late capitalism, the relations of an enclosed acoustics that both reach out to and cut us off from the road itself, and the beat of a pervasive rhythm of life on the move.

panel P09
A new anthropology of automobility