Fast Cars, Clean Bodies by Kristin Ross
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Fast Cars, Clean Bodies
By Kristin Ross

Fast Cars, Clean Bodies

Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture

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Format: Paperback

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Fast Cars, Clean Bodies by Kristin Ross

Book Description

Fast Cars, Clean Bodies examines the crucial decade from Dien Bien Phu to the mid-1960s when France shifted rapidly from an agrarian, insular, and empire-oriented society to a decolonized, Americanized, and fully industrial one. In this analysis of a startling cultural transformation Kristin Ross finds the contradictions of the period embedded in its various commodities and cultural artifacts -- automobiles, washing machines, women's magazines, film, popular fiction, even structuralism -- as well as in the practices that shape, determine, and delimit their uses. In each of the book's four chapters, a central object of mythical image is refracted across a range of discursive and material spaces: social and private, textual and cinematic, national and international. The automobile, the new cult of cleanliness in the capital and the colonies, the waning of Sartre and de Beauvoir as the couple of national attention, and the emergence of reshaped, functionalist masculinities (revolutionary, corporate, and structural) become the key elements in this prehistory of postmodernism in France. Modernization ideology, Ross argues, offered the promise of limitless, even timeless, development. By situating the rise of "end of history" ideologies within the context of France's transition into mass culture and consumption, Ross returns the touted timelessness of modernization to history. She shows how the realist fiction and film of the period, as well as the work of social theorists such as Barthes, Lefebvre, and Morin who began at the time to conceptualize "everyday life," laid bare the disruptions and the social costs of events. And she argues that the logic of the racism prevalent in France today, focused on the figure of the immigrant worker, is itself the outcome of the French state's embrace of capitalist modernization ideology in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780262680912
ISBN-10: 0262680912
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 178mm x 12mm)
Pages: 274
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publish Date: 1-May-1996
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Kristin Ross

Communal Luxury by Kristin Ross Communal Luxury, Hardback (March 2015)

Reclaiming the legacy of the Paris Commune for the twenty-first century.

Emergence of Social Space by Kristin Ross Emergence of Social Space, Paperback (December 2007)

A ride through the literature of Rimbaud in a France in the throes of revolution.

Anti-Americanism by Kristin Ross Anti-Americanism, Paperback (September 2004)

The history of anti-Americanism is as long and varied as the history of the United States. Contributors here provide substance and depth to the recent outburst of fast talk on the topic of anti-Americanism by analyzing its history and currency in five key global regions.

» View all books by Kristin Ross


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Author Biography - Kristin Ross

Kristin Ross is Professor of Comparative Literature at New York University. She is the author of The Emergence of Social Space: Rimbaud and the Paris Commune.

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