Article; Street Machining

EDIT: I now have a copy of the article. Thanks people! Wow, that is the most practical thing to ever happen in my whole blog career!

Can anyone out there in blogland help with access to this article:

Graeme Turner (1999) “Tabloidization, Journalism and the Possibility of Critique” International Journal of Cultural Studies, 2: 59รขโ‚ฌโ€œ76

My uni (UWS) doesn’t have access, neither does USyd. If someone has access and could get me a copy I would appreciate it.

After a long time trying to figure out which ‘media studies’ tradition my magazine stuff should come under it is this ‘tabloidization’ stream. However, there are big differences between what is normally talked about as being ‘tabloidized’ (news and current affairs) and my focus (enthusiast media). The shift from being a structural component of social relations (‘fourth estate’; ideological relations) to producing striated spectacularized representations (‘machinic media’; affective relations) is the same for the modified-car culture enthusiast media over the 1980s except in much more condensed form, ie the ‘spectacle’ is not distributed ala Debord.

My example is of the trajectory of the Australian Street Machine Federation and clubs in general in relation to the enthusiast media set alongside the rise of the spectacular ‘pro-street’ style of modification and the transformations in the big-time show circuit. In retrospect the clash of these two trajectories saw four major shifts in Australian modified-car culture:

1) the eventual closure of two magazines (Supercar and Street & Custom) and the rise to dominance of one (Street Machine).

2) the loss of authority/potential for the major national Street Machining club/federation, the Australian Street Machine Federation, in relation to the magazines (the three mentioned above), and in relation to the strengthening of the other major club, the Australian Street Rod Federation. (After the split in 1973 between what became ANDRA and the ASRF, the ASRF was built on a very strong club structure and now has a very good relationship with State motoring and registration authorities and automotive engineers.)

3) the gradual decline of the adhoc national body representing the Street Machining State-based club structure, the ASMF, and correlative decline in popularity, coverage, and status of the the national car show, the Street Machine Nationals, with the rise of the Street Machine magazine-sponsored Summernats.

4) the spectacularization of Street Machining with the rise in popularity, throughout the 1980s, of the “pro-street movement”. The pro-street movement was based more around show-based image and impact than ‘streetable’ technical or engineering factors.

7 replies on “Article; Street Machining”

  1. Ha! One of my examiners (whom I still suspect was Graeme Turner) asked in his/her thesis report why I didn’t use this article. The answer was that Unimelb and RMIT libraries didn’t have it, and when I travelled on the tram to La Trobe, the library was shut by the time I got there! Oh how I cried that night!

    In the end my evil supervisor casually emailed me a PDF, which I would have emailed to you if Laura hadn’t got in first.

  2. mel, from what i have read/know of your thesis, I could see that this could be somewhat relevant! did you use it in the end?

    The tension between two epistemological models (truth/error and belief/falsity) that organises most engagements into the ‘tabloidization’ of news and current affairs is also apparent in the enthusiast media. Except there are very different ‘planes of consistency’, that is, the epistemological ground from which mere ‘belief’ is expelled. In the news and current affairs it is the rationality of a fully individuated middle class subject engaging with non-middle class problems/situations. In car enthusiast media it is the rational masculine technical subject engaging with non-technical automotive styles and non-club-based spectacular forms of organization. The movement between the two epistemological poles (from transcendental to ‘situated’ knowledges to use the feminist lingo) is evident at all times, while I argue it is the tension that remains unresolved.

    Plus the form(at) itself changes things. Fragments, technical documents and narrative stories in magazines versus mostly narrativised stories and commentary in the news and cuurent affairs. That is another whole issue.

  3. I think your use of the article is vastly more sophisticated than the article itself. When I finally read it, I was like, “That’s it? That’s fucking it?” But I had to cite it because my examiner told me I had to, and I wanted the thesis to be passed.

  4. hmmm, that is interesting, about the marker situation. I need to cultivate that sort of sensibility where I don’t recognise (or simply repress) the folly in my own work and instead think of it as the most important thing in the world, or, at the minimum, something that has to be cited.

    I just think reconciling everything back to some grand conception of ‘culture’ that is determined or even thinkable according to macro-social forces (state, nation, etc) are problematic in the niche, micro, or enthusiast media. It allows for a comparative engagement across media to abstract the ‘tabloid-machine’ from very grounded circumstances. The small-market media have their own ‘transcendentals’ and correlative vertical heirarchies that leads to spectacularizations of cultural images and the tabloidization of the press. The axes of value by which these spectacularized images are measured are also sub-culturally specific.

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