Cars and Contemporary Communication: Machine, Medium, Mobility – Introduction
As an introduction to the Special Section on cars in contemporary communication, this article positions the seven current studies against the backdrop of historical investigations from previous decades. While the car has always intrigued scholars as a highly personal machine; a context for new, mobile communication technologies; and a vehicle of autonomy, all these aspects are taking on new significance with the emergence of connected and increasingly autonomous cars. We identify some common theoretical foundations for the articles in this Special Section both in fundamental reflections on communication and transportation technologies by James Carey and in current initiatives toward a deeper integration of communication and mobility research. All the articles share an emphasis on a certain ritual view of automobility. Each contribution is introduced with its unique perspective.