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Environmental affects: NASCAR, place and white American cultural citizenship

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What are the cultural logics linking anti-environmentalism with social conservatism and pro-corporate politics? An investigation of NASCAR (the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) reveals the ways in which this sport embodies a relatively common American structure of feeling and corporeal relation to nature. Industrialization and neoliberal globalization have attenuated place-based identities, ecological affordances and subsistence strategies. As an expression of white American cultural citizenship, NASCAR manages this economic and ecological insecurity through a rearticulation of patriarchal familial commodity consumption and mobility. The evacuation of residual meanings and practices tied to specific ecologies makes the heteronormative nuclear family the privileged site for the type of consumption that signifies national belonging. An expectation of mobility underlines this detached consumption and also constitutes an appropriation of national territory. NASCAR thus represents a genre of American cultural citizenship that is implicated in the cultural politics of environmental protection and other public goods.
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Keywords: NASCAR; affect; automobility; environment; place; whiteness

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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