Humans are so enmeshed in mobility systems that they identify with themselves through those systems. In Communicating Mobility and Technology: A Material Rhetoric for Persuasive Transportation, Ehren Pflugfelder (2017) uses the term "automobility" to describe both "the specific kinds of mobility afforded by independent, automobile-related movement technologies" and "the complex cultural, bodily, technological, and ecological ramifications of our dependence on separate mobility technologies" (p. 4). Given identities enmeshed in ecologies of systems involving human and nonhuman actors through which transportation emerges, automobility is described as a "wicked problem" to be solved, in part, by technical communicators and communication designers naming and revealing the persuasive power of transportation systems. Understanding this persuasive power benefits practitioners by revealing the shared agency of automobility among the car-driver assemblage, and academics, by offering a framework for recognizing transportation as persuasive and therefore rhetorical.
Copyright © 2016 Association for Computing Machinery. This review first appeared in Communication Design Quarterly 4:4 (2016), 86-92.
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Daniel L. Hocutt. [Review of the book Communicating Mobility and Technology: A Material Rhetoric for Persuasive Transportation, by E. H. Pflugfelder.] Communication Design Quarterly 4:4 (2016), 86-92. Retrieved from http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3071096.