Paramon squatted down with her arms lost under the animal’s great Tangshan Map shaggy belly, and milked it, leaving enough for the calf. When the calves were Tangshan Map untied they bounded over to their mothers, frolicking and frisking with high kicks before settling down to drink. Paramon says that some milk is used for yoghourt and the rest she has to chum with a wooden club in a tall bucket. I looked in at the bucket’s thick grey scum and wondered how long it has to be churned. For milk or yoghourt she said that she pounded it for about two hours, and much longer for butter. The family’s hospitality to me was tremendous and I tried to repay it with small gifts of flick-lighters and nail-scissors.
Emanating from these considerations there have been varying approaches to the consideration of spatialities, materialities and subjectivities that underpin daily mobility, movement and travel; particularly, in relation to the automobile. Due to the spectacular and omnipresent nature and practice of urban driving, the exploration and interrogation of car travel has become a trope in understanding ideas of automobility.
Considered an important social and technical institution through which contemporary social life is shaped and organized, research into automobility has been engaged with accounting for the multiple interlocking dimensions of the car and the broader machinic complex it constitutes (Urry 2000; Bohm et al. 2006). In attempting to account for the complexities of the car-system’ and the hybrid figure of the car-driver’ (Sheller and Urry 2000), an important focus of automobility studies has been devoted to socio-spatial and material investigations of motorways. For example, urban geographer, Peter Merriman examines the critical sociologies and geographies of driving in terms of site-specific encounters: the ways in which subjectivities, materialities and spatialities associated with driving emerge through the folding and placing of the spaces and materialities of cars, bodies, roads and surroundings (with a variety of thoughts, atmospheres, senses and presences) into dynamic, contingent topological assemblages.