Car-Tuning & Gender
2019-09-20, 09:30–10:15, HGD 20

Social Practices between Humans and Machines.


The link between car–tuning and masculinity seems to be self–evident. Pop Cultural references in movies or video games draw a picture of illegal street racing, dominant forms of masculinity and extensive, flashy car modification. Yet the reality of self-organized tuning groups and tuning events is slightly different and more complex than this perception. Using ethnographic research strategies this research develops within the research process, adapts to the habits and is guided by specific features in the research field. Data is collected through participant observation, interviews, visual footage and other material artifacts. In order to deepen the analysis through processes of critical self–reflection the study is supported by an ethnographic supervision group.

The first results indicate that not only should attention be paid on the interaction between the human participants but also on the interactions between the car and the humans as the car as an non–human actor is highly dominant in this field. In this research, the car should also be seen as an actor that is involved together with the human actors in production and cognitive processes using approaches from (Feminist–) Sciene and Technology Studies and New Materialism. In recent studies the car was labeled as a "Prosthetic Extensions of Self ", as a “being" and as an "anthropomorphic" machine. Furthermore it can be drawn from the first results that concepts of gender seem to play a crucial role within the subculture. Therefore in continuing this research the social practices between the human actors and the non–human actors, cars will be explored to address the question, on how Gender is produced and negotiated. This study aims to go beyond gender relation research. Taking into account different forms of masculinity and femininity, material aspects while not negating gender as a social structure category but dissolving the seemingly ‘natural’ binary construction of gender in the analysis in order to analyse the category gender entirely without ignoring other structuring categories and their intersection.