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Driving to the beat of one's own hum: automobility and musical listening

Studies in Symbolic Interaction

ISBN: 978-0-85724-361-4, eISBN: 978-0-85724-362-1

Publication date: 30 September 2010


The car is a room stimulating particular senses and emotions.(Urry, 2007, p. 127)

This chapter explores practices associated with musical listening within the car. It embraces DeNora's approach to the social study of music in conjunction with symbolic interactionism. I focus on musical elements partnered with social interaction that commonly occur in automobile commuter situations. Music is deployed as an environmental feature of automobile commuting that transforms the physical space of the car into a symbolic social space where those that occupy this context are afforded experiences of comfort and control. I conclude with a discussion of perceptions of public and private dimensions of car travel.


Walsh, M.J. (2010), "Driving to the beat of one's own hum: automobility and musical listening", Denzin, N.K. (Ed.) Studies in Symbolic Interaction (Studies in Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 35), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 201-221.



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