Femina Politica – Zeitschrift für feministische Politikwissenschaft
Year of publication
Autonomous Cars and Hegemonic Masculinity Analyzing the German media discourse on autonomous cars, Anna-Lena Berscheid shows how the invention of autonomous cars might undermine the car as a symbol of hegemonic masculinity. An autonomous car would eliminate crucial characteristics usually used to perform masculinity, such as speeding, risk-taking, flexibility or expressing individual power. The analysis illustrates contradictory discourses on autonomous cars: On the one hand, it is argued that this new form of (auto)mobility improves street security by transferring responsibility to the computer and turning the human driver into a passenger. This discourse fosters the idea of a „neutral” and therefore safer driving-style. On the other hand, discourse actors claim that they cannot fully trust technology and therefore, they aim to maintain those factors of driving (a car) which are considered as „fun”. Ironically, the concept of „fun” implies stereotyped „masculinity” and therefore often includes dangerous driving characteristics that are meant to get „neutralized” by the autonomous car. These contradictions show that the automobile industry hesitates to give up the car as a means to express masculinity. That might be the reason why the car industry focuses on so called driving assistance systems which are supposed to support the driver, but leave him/her in control of the car as such.
Files in this item