Sporting Automobility: Contextualizing NASCAR Nation

Part of the Education, Politics, and Public Life book series (EPPL)


Freedom. If the nation’s tableau vivant of commercial imagery and political rhetoric—filled with patriotic slogans and All-American symbolism—has taught us anything over the years, it is that “freedom” is not just another word in the ongoing story of “America.” Freedom from what, or to do what, is often glossed over in order to get more directly to the main storyline: that in the United States, hard work, self-determination, devotion to the country, perseverance, obedience, and above all else, individualism, are all made possible through, and rewarded by, this collective sense of freedom. And as the epigraph suggests, the automobile is often positioned as a central apparatus for achieving such freedom within that enduring story (Packer, 2008). Historically, the automobile has been viewed as a way to realize freedom from boredom, a rite of passage toward adulthood, an escape from bucolic isolation, a mechanism for usurping the law of the land, and even a way to emancipate oneself from the condition of poverty (through the exchange valued labors of industrialism).


Republican Party Capital Relation National Collegiate Athletic Association Major League Baseball Consumer Culture 
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© Joshua I. Newman and Michael D. Giardina 2011

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