2005 CSAA Abstract

Here is my abstract for the CSAA conference. I wasn’t very well thought over, but I have been too busy to really nail it. I was unsure how to discuss the Deleuze stuff. I am thinking: “Deleuzian Mechanics” or perhaps “Deleuze’s Speed Shop” lol!

Fixing Up Car(-Enthusiast)s

Although modified-car culture has a long history dating back to the 1930s, its first incarnation as a form of mass popular culture did not emerge until after WW2 with Hot Rodding. ‘Hot-Rodding’ is an event partially determined by the enthusiasm of modified-car enthusiasts who already existed, but was actualised through the performative effect of mass media moral panics surrounding ‘hot-rodders’ and the ‘massification’ of the enthusiast culture by an emergent automotive/pop cultural industry. The Post-War moment in modified-car culture signals the capture or ‘fixing’ of the enthusiasm on two fronts: by authorities through governmental regulation and by the cultural industry through the commodification of desire.

This paper explores the emergence of modified-car culture through Deleuze’s ‘modification’ of the Marxist critical method of retroduction. Retroduction, a Marxist method of hypothesis formation which reasons mechanisms from the appearances of the phenomena which cause them, is referred to in Deleuzian literature in a number of ways including the ‘creation of concepts.’ Marx’s simultaneously inductive and deductive reasoning provides a correlation for Deleuze’s method of mapping the forces at play in the expression of the virtual as the actual. This method is not a science; rather, it is a form of Deleuze’s ‘anexact, yet rigorous’ problematic experimentation that moves “from the problem to the ideal accidents and events that condition the problem the cases that resolve it.” (Smith 2004: 79-80). This paper shall argue that ‘Hot-Rodding’ is the initial problematic actualisation (expression) of modified-car culture as an event.