Journal article

Ruined beings: ontology in post-socialist driving

Andrew Dawson

Social Anthropology | WILEY | Published : 2021


In this article I consider what sense it makes to speak of a hybrid automobile ontology in contexts where its constitutive elements – driver, car and traffic system – are ruins. Then, on the basis of passenger-seat ethnography conducted in Bosnia and Herzegovina, I explore the consequences of the oxymoronic quality of these ruins, which as ‘remains’ both endure and decay, for experiences and senses of being among drivers living under conditions of post-socialist transition.

University of Melbourne Researchers


Funding Acknowledgements

Part of the research for this article was enabled by funding from the Leverhulme Trust and the Toyota Foundation. I wish to thank Stef Jansen, my collaborator on those projects. I also wish to thank Tatiana Argounova-Low and Patrick Laviolette for inviting me to participate in the Association of Social Anthropologists conference panel on Auto-Anthropocenes from which this article eventuated, and for inviting me to participate in their planned special issue of Social Anthropology on that same topic.