The Sound of a Man’s Car
Giulia Mengozzi

The Sound of a Man’s Car

Giulia Mengozzi


The song Love is the Drug¹ begins with the sound of a car engine. The public persona of Bryan Ferry, lead singer of Roxy Music, didn’t exactly represent what we might call a model of hegemonic masculinity, at least not by 70’s standards. Yet he was passionate about cars2. “You can hear the Love Is The Drug car sound on your own if now someone has a Mellotron M4000D. […] In the 70s Roxy Music loaded all their sound effects onto a Mellotron so they could play them on stage.”3 This information doesn’t come from any pop music history source but pistonheads.com, the UK’s largest online car community. I found this message on a thread while guessing the car model to which the iconic song’s sampled sound belongs.

Love is the Drug was going to be re-purposed as a cover by Grace Jones in her album Warm Leatherette.4 Its title track also retrieves the homonymous song5 by The Normal, the stage name of English music producer Daniel Miller. His song anticipated David Cronenberg’s Crash (1996) in recreating the atmosphere of the homonymous novel by J.G. Ballard. Miller looked for a deeply visual sound, leading listeners to imagine themselves driving along a highway between gigantic buildings–and then through a tunnel.6 The song describes intercourse between two people burning alive, penetrated by their crashed car’s metal sheets.

Crash’s protagonist is a TV director involved in a car accident: stuck in his seat, he sexually fantasizes about the woman in the other car, who is injured but alive, unlike her husband, whose corpse doesn’t stop the protagonist’s sexual daydreaming. From there, a series of morbid adventures begins, in which sex and car crashes –real or fictional– recur and intertwine. “Ballard’s radicalism,” wrote Primo Moroni “takes modernity to extremes, leading to the most radical consequences already existing in our daily life, to the point of creating a mythology of its own.”7 This emerges with extreme clarity in the book when we read that “the enormous energy of the twentieth century, enough to guide the planet into a new orbit around a happier star, was spent on maintaining this immense pause still.”8

Another wonderful example of the relationship between machine and desire, a desire confronting a hyper-normative society’s psychopathological consequences and their limits, can be found in Toby Dammit, Federico Fellini’s contribution to the collective movie Tre Passi nel Delirio.9 In Fellini’s episode, we witness the tragic parable of an alcoholic actor who agrees to shoot in a far-fetched production of a Roman Catholic Western movie just because he is offered a Ferrari car in exchange. Obsessed with an unconscious call, he eventually finds death after a mad car ride. “We shot a few weeks and the only problem was that Terence Stamp10 really wanted to drive the Ferrari,” said Fellini during an interview, “like the actor in the film, even off the set. […] The Ferrari11 was a kind of rocket. He set it in motion and I thought: there will be a manslaughter”.12 At the film’s end, Toby crosses the abyss and is no longer seen. No car crash sound, no wrecks. Both Crash and Toby Dammit –through different meanings and aesthetics– give us the possibility to think about the most disturbing, even horrific, aspects of the notion of modernity. 

The exceptional, climactic character of narratives like Crash and Toby Dammit paradoxically stems from car ownership’s historical normalization process. “The proliferation of ‘private cars’ […] was one of the most momentous developments of the twentieth century. By bringing a degree of personal self-mobility previously unimaginable to the populations of industrialized societies, the car […] has become an ordinary object that is consumed through routine.”13

Thus, cars can be thought of as powerful political devices: automobile brands’ construction involves processes symbolizing history, cultural heritage, and national roots.14 During the last century, cars have been one of the main actors in the entanglement between capitalism, modernity, and the nation-state. This entanglement has produced and still produces norms and desires, and often steers to violate these same norms as acts and strategies of emancipation. Many cultural products, as well as collective behavior involving cars, exemplify variations of this psycho-political scenario in different ways. The notion of gender, and particularly male gender performativity, concurs to complexify the relationship between desire, modernity, and automobility, which I would like to explore throughout this text.

This essay began by winking at the history of pop music: sound –the aural dimension of objects, the soundscapes of everyday life, or the countless forms of organized sound, not least music and the record industry– can constitute a nontrivial starting point of analysis, since the act of listening helps to shift our perspectives. As I often do, I inaugurated my search by typing a rather frivolous question on Google: why do kids love the sound of car engines? Willfully wasting my time on the Internet, as Kenneth Goldsmith15 suggests, I came across Girls Ask Guys16, an online social community where young people share their opinions to help better understand the other gender. This website is some kind of amusement park for anyone interested in the reproduction of everyday life’s gender constructs. Under the nickname of Ivarei, a girl asks: “Why do some guys modify their cars so that they are obnoxiously loud? […] It makes the guys who drive them look like jackasses. […] it’s so annoying when guys think a car that deafens people […] is even remotely attractive. […] It’s funny how guys think that putting $5,000 worth of modifications into their 1995 Toyota Paseo makes it a better car, why didn’t they just use the $5,000 to buy a nicer car […]? lol. Peacocking. […] I tend to assume that they’re trying to make up for some other deficiency they’ve got.”17

I’d like to adopt this message to introduce some recurring clichés about car modifiers and racers. We can deduce that their reasons are hardly recognized by mainstream culture; they are perceived as mainly boastful young males –“jackasses”– and their efforts are considered ridiculous, in conflict with hegemonic ideas about performance cars or valuable cars. Modifying vehicles is considered to be a waste of resources, which should be invested in purchasing a valuable car instead, as proposed by the market. Finally, those –generally perceived as males–who spend their resources and time in this way need to compensate for some kind of insecurity, some deficiency in parameters associated with hegemonic models of masculinity. Maybe money? Authority? Self-esteem? Control over your own life? Women? Penis length?

This kind of criticism seems to counteract certain stereotypical traits of hegemonic masculinity –peculiar traits bordering on toxic masculinity– due to a tendency toward antisocial behavior. But it is easy to realize that such conclusions are based on equally solid and stereotypical gender norms, which these guys are apparently violating by excess. But what are the standards upon which this roguely excessive masculinity rests? I think that, first of all, what is being violated here are parameters related to class, ethnicity, and other matrices of social marginalization. And that de-legitimizing desires and pleasure cultivated through car-tuning constitute an instrumental and somehow obtuse use of gender perspective.


A Technology of Male Self


Car tuning is the modification of a car to optimize it for a set of requirements different from those it was designed to meet: it is the art of enhancing or customizing cars’ appearance and performance, a more or less illegal practice, tolerated or regulated in some degree, depending on different national contexts. It is an extremely articulated and widespread global phenomenon. While female modifiers can’t be ruled out, we can safely say that most of them are male.18

Dag Balkmar hypothesizes a “modifier masculinity,”19 a concept arising from his observation of plural gender performances; these must necessarily be conceived and analyzed as geographically, chronologically, and socioculturally situated in specific contexts, given though some coincidences at a transnational level.20 As I mentioned earlier, reading car culture as a gendered issue is a rather intuitive perspective, motivated both by demographic statistics21 and countless cultural products reinforcing the stereotype of young men as speed dæmon.22 In terms of road safety, Dag Balkmar picks up on Lupton in indicating a shift from the notion of dangerousness to that of risk, “a move from individuality to the identification of background factors”23 outlining the existence of groups at risk. And this is the case of young men and cars.24 Gender performances are influenced by superstructural elements, including films, music, etc., and vice versa. I want to drive like Vin Diesel to be male like Vin Diesel–and this will be the only reference to the Fast & Furious saga, our Stone Guest. Vin Diesel himself seems to know how to capitalize on his masculine image, to the point of forcing the film producers to limit the number of punches his character might receive on screen.25 Then again, he carefully manages his public persona, representing himself as a faithful family man whose muscles are constantly in the bulking phase, including his heart. We could say that our hypertrophic Vin possesses the necessary skills to deploy the male gender technology.26

Statistics seem to confirm an existing correlation between attitudes of toxic masculinity, young men, and road mortality.27 However, I’m not convinced that identities and narratives of car modifiers and racers should be perforce attached to such masculinity with toxic consequences. Indeed, such a reductive stereotype’s raison d’être should be investigated to understand why our mainstream culture vehemently distances itself from these peculiar communities of car enthusiasts. What power relationships do we ignore, and what moral values ​​do we impose, when we decide to condemn them? What do we refuse to face? In this sense, I’d like to mention the concept of hybrid masculinities.28 “In gender studies, hegemonic masculinity […] is defined as a practice that legitimizes men’s dominant position in society and justifies the subordination of the common male population and women, and other marginalized ways of being a man. […] This idea of ​​marginalization is always relative to what is allowed by the dominant group, therefore creating subsets of hegemonic masculinity based on existing social hierarchies.”29 And here comes the notion of hybrid masculinities, which helps to elaborate what I mean by emphasizing that distancing ourselves from the stories and desires of car modifiers and racers can reveal solid power relationships we continue to reproduce.

The concept of hybrid masculinities critically highlights the emergence and consequences of recent transformations in masculinities. It refers, following Bridges and Pascoe, “to the selective incorporation of elements of identity typically associated with various marginalized and subordinated masculinities and–at times–femininities into privileged men’s gender performances and identities. […] Hybrid masculinities may place discursive (though not meaningful) distance between certain groups of men and hegemonic masculinity, are often undertaken with an understanding of white, heterosexual masculinity as less meaningful than other (more marginalized or subordinated) forms of masculinity, and fortify social and symbolic boundaries and inequalities. […] Men of color, working-class men, immigrant men, among others, are often (in)directly cast as the possessors of regressive masculinities.”30

Dismissing the desires of communities of car modifiers and racers as mere hyper-masculinity practices can create problematic discursive distance, concealing our tendency to reproduce existing power relations: by underestimating what brought about the formations of these communities, we ignore historical and contemporary experiences that are potentially precious to create honest intersectional gender perspectives. The risk consists of denying legitimacy to marginalized communities and identities built in response to collective and individual trauma. These are often stories of the working class, ethnic minorities, and processes of political and cultural colonization: as Dag Balkmar noted, “car modification is […] an inherently material and hands-on cultural practice where the human body, tools, and material objects engage together […]. Craftsmanship and the pride and achievements that have traditionally been associated with skillful manipulation of tools hold a particular historical significance for working-class men.”31 These stories deserve to be understood beyond the comfortable narrative of youngsters’ rebelliousness: car culture intertwines these stories through material-semiotic practices32 and performances of interpretative freedom tapping into technologies of automobility. 

Car parts that can be modified, emphasized, and enhanced are numerous. For consistency with the leitmotif of this essay, I’ll focus on eminently acoustic aspects, particularly the sound of the engine33 trying to understand it as a device of aesthetic and gender performance.

I have come across numerous online conversations pointing out the huge difference that elapses between high-performance cars’ noisy exhausts and ordinary cars to which high-performance exhausts have been fitted. Most people, including self-identified “car guys”, remark that those who emphasize their car’s sound through modifications do not have performance-related concerns. They seek to draw attention, to feed their ego, poorly compensating who-knows-what, on the pretext of the car. Again, I find myself reading references to a hypothetical lack, some deficient parameter that has to be outweighed in terms of ego and masculinity. It is funny that critics from the field frequently specify what cars they own –often expensive so-called muscle cars– as if it would validate their position in the automobile culture higher than the mainstream driver. I spontaneously subscribe to a comment written by someone who is probably a mainstream driver: “Are you really serious? Obnoxiously loud cars that happen to be expensive are less annoying than cheap obnoxiously loud cars?”34

This recursive referring to a supposed deficit in terms of hegemonic masculine parameters, supposedly compensated by modifying a cheap car, does nothing but re-affirm the perceived connection between precise gendered performances and precise power dynamics. Basically, the greater social legitimacy of those possessing extensive economic and cultural capital is remarked, allowing them to perform hegemonic masculinity without destabilizing bourgeois values. Is it sure that the problem with loud cars is noise pollution and has nothing to do with the reproduction of power relationships for which the working class is marginalized? Is it certain that such car sounds would not make a nuisance, even unconsciously, when a working-class man or woman won’t adapt, won’t commit to earning enough to buy a luxury car, practicing his or her desire for that particular car sound by getting his or her hands dirty with grease? Deeming this desire from a moral standpoint doesn’t interest me, but I wish to highlight how our ideological narrative influences our understanding of every single detail of lived experience, including the idiot who woke us revving that damn car in the middle of the night.

The ability to modify a car can constitute a technology of self35 not aligned with the logic of what we could call the technology of the dominant self, namely consumption. Consumer choices are strongly oriented by our desire for visibility and self-design.36 While car modifiers’ identity is often built in parallel to the visibility of their cars, their motivations are quite different than those that compel a luxury car’s acquisition. Car modifiers do not affirm their identity by exercising an eminently commercial power but by carrying out rituals and performances seeking to manifest their subsistence as “those having the power and skills to bring worn-out cars back to life or having the ambition to manipulate ordinary-looking cars into unique eye-catchers”.37

The desire to own and perform such transformative skills should neither be considered neutral nor an expression of absolute self-determination happening in a vacuum: “The ways in which connections are reproduced between masculinity and technology tend to keep reproducing car modification as being ‘for men’; one reason for this is the links established between masculinity and craftsmanship.”38 At the same time, while reading interviews39 with female car modifiers, none of my findings suggest any discrepancy with conventional female gender constructions’ practices and postures. In their words, aspects of craftsmanship socially assimilated to masculinity seem to melt with values of care and self-affirmation through the sphere of aesthetics. Did I assign such shades to these car modifier’s accounts because I knew they were female? Or, perhaps, we are just used to labeling individuals and their practices following gendered linear logics? If we would or could shift our perspective in line with other coordinates, I’m not sure, whether any precise gender identity could be attributed to the source of the following testimony: “This is a working-class hobby in the end, to be able to get something really stunning going with very slender means, that is really the biggest there is in a way.”40


Street Fighters


Dag Balkmar connects car modifiers to the “concept of interpretative reflexivity from Pinch and Bijker (1984) […]: a process in which social groups derive new uses and meanings from the designed technology. […] Interpretive reflexivity is of vital importance to modifiers, who have turned the car to their purposes of self-expression, in the form of car styling, and consequently have helped change its technology as expressions of their own creativity and identity.”41 In Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life (2010), through a sound-oriented perspective, Brandon LaBelle shows us how this kind of interpretative flexibility, when it meets a close-knit and supportive community and its needs and desires, can trigger processes of collective identity creation. A modified car can function both as an operational tool and a shared symbol of expression. “The Lowrider automotive culture in Los Angeles is based on a history of struggle and cultural expression, gravitating around the appropriation of the car as an emblem of class and race identity Chicano-Americans in the late 1930s […] were often without the means to afford new cars, and thus formed social groups where cars were shared ownership. With so much driving and collective use, cars inevitably required personal maintenance. Mechanical repairs of the shared vehicles combined with aesthetic flourishes and stylization, resulted in the expression of group identities through the car. The car quickly became a means of seeking transformation, a literal vehicle to avert the challenges of social exclusion, to extend the cultivation of an emancipatory aesthetic. […] Such modifications can be read, according to Brenda Jo Bright, as “displays of self-imagined identities enacted against an inverted background of cultural stereotypes and racial experiences”. A biased system, which models specific messages through precise alterations.”42

An equally meaningful and radically different case in which car culture can be read as a device of sociopolitical struggle can be found in Pascal Menoret’s Joyriding in Riyadh (2014). In his article, The Dangerous Culture of Drifting in Kingdom (2014), Ibrahim Al-Ammar, columnist for Arab News, described tafheet as “a phenomenon almost as old as the time when cars appeared in Saudi society”: “What is tafheet? Quite simply, it’s a drifting car. Non-Saudis see this from time to time, and it can be scary at first […]. Grab a car, go to an obstacle-free road, and drift to your heart’s content. If you don’t own a car, a minority of young people have found a foolproof solution: just steal one! And this is another social phenomenon that has appeared with our too rapid modernization.”44 The reader (note that the target audience of Arab News43 is businessmen, executives, and diplomats) is offered a thesis concerning this phenomenon that we could summarize as too much free time and a general abulic attitude toward healthy hobbies, due to the harsh living conditions of Saudi Arabian ancestors. And ultimately, “[…] encouragement. Our youth rapidly populate any street once they hear tires screeching and this eggs the drifter on. He goes on to perfect this skill, always looking for that addictive euphoric rush anytime he executes a nearly suicidal move in front of an awe-struck crowd. Really, car chases and drifts in Hollywood movies seem laughably amateurish compared to what Saudi teenagers can do.”45

Mentioned with thinly disguised admiration, the fact that Hollywood stuntmen would turn pale in front of young Saudi drifters’ skills, is probably the only overlapping point between our columnist’s thesis on tafheet –a fairly random way of articulating opinion on such an issue– and the work of Pascal Menoret, who adopted the posture of reflective anthropology taken from Bourdieu.46 Menoret is a French anthropologist whose fields of research include urban anthropology, infrastructure, protest, and ethnographic fieldwork. Based on four years of fieldwork, Menoret’s Joyriding in Riyadh explores the city’s social fabric and connects it to Saudi Arabia’s recent history. Menoret explains how car drifting emerged after Riyadh was planned and oil became the main driver of the economy. For young rural migrants, it was a way to reclaim alienating and threatening urban spaces. For the Saudi state, it jeopardized its most basic operations: managing public spaces and enforcing law and order.47

Joyriding in Riyadh opens with a scene that immediately establishes an empathic relationship with drifters: Menoret describes a car race told from the driver’s perspective. And he could do it because it was his perspective while driving a worn-out Jeep Cherokee together with local drifters on the streets of Riyadh. And it is him, again, to tells us that speed gave him “a sense of invulnerability” that had never been experienced before: “‘This is awesome! This is what I should have been doing all my life!’ I was excited to drive fast, to break the law, to belong, even for a night, to a community of agitated young men who were defying the police in a country reputed for its harsh handling of the slightest incivility,”48 he writes. Now, although just reading the first pages of this splendid book has caused me a certain sense of nausea –I’m not speaking in moral or metaphorical terms: I actually suffer terribly from car sickness– I can assume that he’s referring to a physiological effect, a rush of adrenaline which, moreover, collapses dramatically when the story leads us to crash–literally–in the course of a car accident, thankfully without any major consequence.

All the more reason, after reading these pages, I feel fully entitled to ask myself why the hell young Saudis, like other groups around the world, insist on risking their lives by engaging in such an activity?

Menoret’s thesis is that tafheet’s phenomenon cannot be seen exclusively as a juvenile crime’s extreme manifestation, and both drifting and its criminalization, as previously noted, should be read in a much wider structure of dynamics (re)producing power and knowledge on a global scale. And when it comes to power, violence is inescapably summoned. Indeed, the book explores “an idea that will sound both simple and obscure: in Saudi Arabia today, road violence is a form of political violence. And by road violence, I mean not only the most visible forms of violence –road rage or joyriding– but also the structural violence that roads, infrastructure, and the automobile system, in general, inflict on individuals.” Menoret writes that the post-war globalization phenomena should not be read so much as the result of free bilateral markets’ integration processes, but as a dynamic whose matrix can be traced back to the historical decline of coal as the main energy resource, in favor of oil. The reconstruction of Western Europe and Japan was based on petroleum; even the prosperity of the so-called West, both materially and culturally, was based on it. And through this natural resource also known as “black gold”, here we are exactly where we’ve begun, affirming the centrality of automobility in the processes of constructing modernity.


References and Notes:

  1. Love Is the Drug is a 1975 single from English rock band Roxy Music’s fifth studio album Siren, released by Island Records.
  2. Bryan Ferry: I’m about to sell my prized Corvette. My muscle car,” The Telegraph, September 2, 2016. 
  3. From Love is the Drug Car, thread on PistonHeads.com, user Evangelion, September 11, 2017.
  4.  Grace Jones, Warm Leatherette, Island Records, 1980.
  5. Daniel Miller aka The Normal, Warm Leatherette, in T.V.O.D./Warm Leatherette, Mute Records, 1978.
  6. Ben Whalley, Synth Britannia, BBC4, August 2, 2010.
  7. Primo Moroni, “Sfide della Modernità,” Decoder, no. 11, 1995, s. 848–849 [translated by the author].
  8. J. G. Ballard, Crash London: Jonathan Cape, 1973.
  9. Federico Fellini, Louis Malle & Roger Vadim, Tre Passi nel Delirio (Histoires extraordinaires), 1968.
  10. The actual actor Terence Stamp plays the part of former Shakespearean actor Toby Dammit.
  11. The color and shapes of the Ferrari P540 Superfast Aperta will be inspired by those of the Maranello spider designed by Carrozzeria Fantuzzi and built specifically for the film.
  12. Federico Fellini et al., Tre Passi nel Delirio.
  13. Tim Dant & Peter J. Martin, “By Car: Carrying Modern Society,” Ordinary Consumption, ed. Jukka Gronow ve Alan Warde, London: Routledge, 2001.
  14. We can also think automobiles as powerful political devices: great car manufacturers have contributed to build national identities, mixing state economic interest and cultural imaginary: think of the case of FIAT and Italy, Sweden and Volvo, Citroen and France, Turkey and TOGG, and so on.
  15. Kenneth Goldsmith, Wasting Time on the Internet, New York: Harper Perennial, 2016.
  16. https://www.girlsaskguys.com/
  17. I’m sitting in my living room and I hear revving on the main road a block away, and 30 seconds later, I can still hear him even though he’s traveled a considerable distance away. and it’s not just the loud engines and mufflers. why do guys put those enormous spoilers on their car and paint their cars garish colors?! it makes the guys who drive them look like jackasses. and also the headlights that aren’t white. why do you need green or bright blue or yellow headlights?! and the tacky rims and ground effects. I’m sorry, I’m ranting but it’s so annoying when guys think a car that deafens people or one that looks like a circus car is even remotely attractive. I don’t get it.”
  18. “When I talk about Men and Cars, as many other scholars have done before me, I focus on male-dominated and masculinity-connoting contexts (cf. Nilsson 2011, Nehls 2003, Mellström 2002, 2004, Andersson 2003, Fundberg 2003).” Dag Balkmar, “On Men and Cars: An Ethnographic Study of Gendered, Risky and Dangerous Relations”, Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, no. 558, 2012.
  19. Ibid.
  20. There is no claim to be exhaustive with respect to the cases to which I refer in this essay and it is not my intention to formulate the hypothesis of any universal aesthetic of the car modifier, but nevertheless I wish to avoid trapping the discourse in a single context without having resources, tools, time and educational background (I’m not an anthropologist or a sociologist) to do it properly. Take it as a kaleidoscope of arbitrarily selected examples, in the awareness that they can only suggest stimuli for reading and not analysis of the phenomenon with an academic ambition.
  21. “[…] having to do with drivers’ inflated sense of self, including men’s stronger sense of entitlement (Shreer 2002, 339); and that men more often than women are inclined to status defence and identity enhancement (Harding et al. 1998). Men are also inclined to react significantly more strongly compared to women when faced with other road users’ anger-provoking driving (Parker, Lajunen and Summala 2002, 235). However, studies also argue that a stressful lifestyle may influence driving to such an extent that gender differences in levels of offending may even be levelled out (Simon and Corbett 1996). Shinar and Compton (2004) note that, even though women can be as aggressive as men, gender differences are greater for riskier and more aggressive behaviours. While men’s status defence or enhancement have been suggested to be central issues in explaining male-male stranger violence in general, previous studies have highlighted the implications of stress, disinhibition and the dehumanizing anonymity afforded by the motor car acting together, adding caution to simplified assumptions about reckless masculinity (Harding et al. 1998, 236).” From Dag Balkmar, “Violent Mobilities: men, masculinities and road conflicts in Sweden”, Mobilities, 13(5), 2018, s. 717–732.
  22. Dag Balkmar, “On Man and Cars.”
  23. Ibid.
  24.  In the context of traffic safety, young men in particular are addressed as ‘at risk’ both for themselves and for others,” ibid.
  25. Erich Schwartzel, “‘Fast & Furious’ Stars’ Complicated Demand—I Never Want to Lose a Fight,” Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2019.
  26. I use the word “technology” referring to Teresa De Laureti’s Technologies of Gender (1987); the book addresses the question of gender in poststructuralist theoretical discourse, postmodern fiction, and womens cinema. It examines the construction of gender both as representation and as self-representation in relation to several kinds of texts and argues that feminism is producing a radical rewriting, as well as a rereading, of the dominant forms of Western culture.
  27. Dag Balkmar, “On Man and Cars.”
  28. “Hybrid masculinity refers to men’s selective incorporation of performances and identity elements associated with marginalized and subordinated masculinities and femininities. We use recent theorization of hybrid masculinities to critically review theory and research that seeks to make sense of contemporary transformations in masculinity. We suggest that research broadly supports three distinct consequences associated with recent changes in performances and politics of masculinity that work to obscure the tenacity of gendered inequality. Hybrid masculinities (i) symbolically distance men from hegemonic masculinity; (ii) situate the masculinities available to young, White, heterosexual men as somehow less meaningful than the masculinities associated with various marginalized and subordinated Others; and (iii) fortify existing social and symbolic boundaries in ways that often work to conceal systems of power and inequality in historically new ways.” Tristan Bridges & C. J. Pascoe, “Hybrid Masculinities: New Directions in the Sociology of Men and Masculinities,” Sociology Compass, 8(3), 2014, p. 246–258.
  29. Ibid.
  30. Ibid.
  31. Dag Balkmar, “On Man and Cars.”
  32. “Material semiotics is a set of tools and sensibilities for exploring how practices in the social world are woven out of threads to form weaves that are simultaneously semiotic (because they are relational, and/or they carry meanings) and material (because they are about the physical stuff caught up and shaped in those relations.) It assumes that there is no single social structure or form of patterning because these material and social webs and weaves come in different forms and styles.” John Law, “Material Semiotics,” January 30, 2019.
  33. The question of upgrading stereo systems is just as interesting, but in that case the layering of meanings that we can investigate is so complex and complex that it takes us out of the domain of automobility.
  34. From Quora. https://www.quora.com/Why-do-people-with-obnoxiously-loud-cars-think-it-s-cool
  35. See note 26.
  36. Boris Groys, “Self-Design and Aesthetic Responsibility,” e‑flux Journal, issue #07, June 2009.
  37. “As Mods and Greasers (Hebdige 1988, Bjurström 1995) have been before them, car modifiers are not passive consumers of cars but active producers. […] car modification is conditioned by the post-traditional state, which sociologists like Ziehe (1982/2003) and Giddens (1991) argue forces us to become ‘seekers’ in order to find out what we believe in and what to make into our life project (Sernhede 2006: 13). Car modification, as situated in transnational networks of influences and trends, may in this sense be regarded as an example of what Franklin et al. (2000: 7) refer to as the effect of ‘the global’ in making worlds, bodies and selves, with an impact at the local level. […] The expressions of style that car modifiers create utilise the ordinary, the old and the boring in standard cars as material for their self-making as youthful and unique subjects.” Dag Balkmar, “On Man and Cars.”
  38. Ibid.
  39. Ibid.
  40. Ibid.
  41. Ibid.
  42. Brandon LaBelle, Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life, New York: Continuum, 2010.
  43. According to Wikipedia, Arab News is an English-language daily newspaper published in Saudi Arabia. The target audiences of the paper which is published in broadsheet are businessmen, executives and diplomats. At least as of May 2019, Arab News was owned by Prince Turki bin Salman Al Saud, the brother of the ruling Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Muhammad bin Salman (aka MBS). The newspaper has been described as “a mouthpiece for the Saudi regime.”
  44.  Ibrahim Al-Ammar, The dangerous culture of drifting in Kingdom,” Arab News, November 3, 2014.
  45. Ibid.
  46.  “This book is inspired by the anthropological tradition developed by Pierre Bourdieu and his students. With its attention to the social, economic, and political conditions of fieldwork, reflexive anthropology requires that researchers distance themselves from the ‘scholastic illusion’: the misleading belief that academic knowledge stands by itself and is not conditioned by class, race, gender, power, or relations of domination.” Pascal Menoret, Joyriding in Riyadah: Oil, Urbanism and Road Revolt, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
  47. Pascal Menoret, Joyriding in Riyadah.
  48. Ibid.