Cars Designed to Intimidate Us
Friday, May 25 2012 @ 03:13 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
“Perhaps another marker of corroded social relations and lack of trust among people was the rapid rise in the popularity of the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) …These are vehicles for the ‘urban jungle’, not the real thing.
Not only did the popularity of SUVs suggest a preoccupation with looking tough, it also reflected growing mistrust, and the need to feel safe from others. Josh Lauer, in his paper, ‘Driven to extremes’, asked why military ruggedness became prized above speed or sleekness, and what the rise of the SUV said about American society.He concluded that the trend reflected American attitudes towards crime and violence, an admiration for rugged individualism and the importance of shutting oneself off from contact with others – mistrust. These are not large vehicles born from a co-operative public-spiritedness and a desire to give lifts to hitch-hikers – hitch-hiking started to decline just as inequality started to rise in the 1970s. As one anthropologist has observed, people attempt to shield themselves from the threats of a harsh and untrusting society ‘by riding in SUVs, which look armoured, and by trying to appear as intimidating as possible to potential attackers’”
The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone
Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett