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Title: Objects of subversion: Contested spaces, competing stories and the material culture of motoring
Contributor(s): Clark, Jennifer R (author)
Publication Date: 2012
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Abstract: The dominant historical discourse on motoring is positive, functional, gendered, aesthetic and modernist. The motor museum reinforces and endorses this perception by collecting, collating and displaying flawlessly restored motor vehicles in a rational order (Divan and Scott 2001). The objects of motoring culture exhibited in this way represent technological progress, engineering achievement and what 'Steering Wheel' magazine pertinently called 'the joys of motoring' (1915: 50). Nevertheless, this clean and precise version of motoring history is contradicted every day by the relentless rise in road trauma. Each year 1.2 million people are killed on the roads worldwide and an additional 50 million injured, with the figures likely to rise further with the motorization of the Third World (Global Road Safety Forum ii.d.). Historically hidden as an anonymous but accumulating statistic, the victims of road trauma are increasingly recognized and remembered by the roadside memorials constructed in their honour (Everett 2002; Clark and Cheshire 2003-4; Haney, Leimer and Lowery 1997; Hartig and Dunn 1998). Roadside memorials usually consist of an eclectic assemblage of objects which collectively tell an alternative motoring history from that generally portrayed in popular museums. Common enough and benign in other contexts, when gathered together at the roadside these objects assume a sharp political, sociological and cultural significance (Santino 2006: 13; Senie 2006). In this context, and when read against the dominant motoring discourse, they may be interpreted as objects of subversion. Perhaps they may be even more radically described as constituting a 'post-museum'.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Narrating Objects, Collecting Stories: Essays in Honour of Professor Susan M. Pearce, p. 221-236
Publisher: Routledge
Place of Publication: Milton Park, United Kingdom
ISBN: 9780415692717
Field of Research (FOR): 210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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