Kick-off Event: Critical Automobility Studies Lab

IHS research group Techno-Science and Societal Transformation is happy to announce the start of its Critical Automobility Studies Lab. The lab kicks off with a launching event that offers presentations and discussions as well as networking opportunities for everyone interested in Critical Automobility Studies.

Automobility is a hegemonic and enduring sociotechnical setup worth critical attention. To concentrate on a critical approach to automobility is all the more important as new societal challenges related to automobility emerged in the last few years from sustainability of electric vehicles to ethical questions related to the transition to autonomous devices or spatial justice in modern urban environs just to name a few. Automobility, in our view, is a complex construct of technologies, apparatuses, ideologies; an imaginary of and in the present. It is composed of both the material and the representational: of discourses, visions and images, of automobiles and the physical infrastructure of automobility. Our interest is in aspects of social justice and violence, gendered representations and cyborg autoselves, the interplay of cared and non-cared bodies, connections and contacts, spatialities and power plays as well as social pasts, presents and futures of automobilities. A special focus is given to post-automobility, a new versatile urban ecosystem that may disrupt the current technosocial operation, as well as social challenges presented driver-car hybridity or driverless futures imagined by many.  


  • Robert Braun (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna) -- “Automobility nomos and biopolitics”
  • Richard Randell (Webster University, Geneve) -- “The imaginary of Automobility”
  • Carlos Lopez-Galviz (Lancaster University) -- “The Past Futures of Cities and Mobility: A View from History"

We would like you to be part of our community. Please join us for this first event of presentations and discussion and register via

The event will be followed by light lunch and drinks.


Robert Braun (IHS) has an interest in the politics of knowledge and societal transformation. He has studied the politics of past knowledge constructs, the politics of corporations and corporate social responsibility as well as responsible innovation. His current research focuses on automobility studies and the transition to autonomous mobility with a responsible research and innovation perspective. His current book project is titled “Towards a Post-Automobility Future” (with Richard Randell) to be published by Rowman & Littlefield International in 2020.

Richard Randell (Webster University, Geneve) has taught classes in social theory, automobility studies, the sociology of human rights, social movements, introductory sociology, social problems, contemporary slavery and human trafficking, gender studies, the sociology of organizations, social psychology, and surveillance studies. His current research interests include mobility studies with a focus on automobility, and the philosophy of science with a focus on phenomenological and deconstructionist critiques of realism. 

Carlos Lopez-Galviz (Lancaster University) focuses on the historic relationship of cities and infrastructure, particularly urban mobility and transport, and how we can connect our understanding of that relationship in the past to its future today. He has published widely on 19th-century London and Paris, deploying a ‘past futures’ perspective. His recent publications include Global Undergrounds(Reaktion, 2016) and the monograph Cities, Railways, Modernities: London, Paris and the Nineteenth Century (Routledge, 2019). He is also co-editor of the Handbook of Social Futures (Routledge, 2021), an agenda-setting work in the emerging field of social futures.