Publication: The Politics of Violence and the Nomos of Automobility

Robert Braun and Richard Randell published a new article on the issue of automobility in the high ranking social sciences journal Mobilities.


The paper argues that automobility is a form of originary and unlimited power that is based on extreme violence: it puts in place and constitutes a new, hegemonic social order. Globally, more people are killed in road crashes than from any other form of violent death, wars included. Automobility violence operates a moral economy wherein people have been persuaded that the ostensible benefits of automobility outweigh this violence. The authors argue that automobility is a metamorphosis of what Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben calls “the camp”.

The nomos of automobility, Braund and Randell claim, is everywhere and has made violence (physical and epistemic) to dwell in the biological body of every living being anywhere on planet Earth. Automobility is an example of an enduring, permanent global space wherein violence has become normalized. It is an area of social or political life where a constant, routine attrition of human life and destruction of the human body is considered normal and acceptable.

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