2003 - Volume 44 > Numéro 3

ISSN 0035-2969

The automobile as an object to be used for research, Chicago, 1915-1940

pp. 497-529


Based on the observation according to which the School of Chicago had failed to study this massive phenomenon, namely the diffusion of the automobile, unlike other aspects which are characteristic of American urbanization in the first half of the 20th century, this text attempts to understand the intellectual and social logic which resulted in its members marginalizing the automobile impact to such an extent that no echo was given to a dissertation defended on this subject in 1928 by one of the school’s students. The task at hand is to show that the configuration in which motorization was made a subject of research was not limited to the sociological field only, but included a certain number of other fields of expertise which differentiated themselves precisely by the intensity of their investment in the subject, while being included in a game of mutual intellectual and social relations. In this way we extricated the social conditions of a production of identified and certified knowledge on the automobile phenomenon in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, taken from detailed analysis of researchers practice, and more particularly, we identified the different methods used for characterized research.



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