'The Cutting Edge of Cocking About': Top Gear, Automobility and Law
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This paper argues that the British Broadcasting Corporation's (BBC) television series Top Gear (2002-) presents a significant opportunity to think about automobility, masculinity and law. As a show about cars and car culture it can be seen, and dismissed, as a gratuitous celebration of 'combustion masculinity.' However, its irony, humour and nostalgia combine to highlight that this way of being male lies in the past. Focusing on Top Gear series 13 (June-August 2009) it is argued that the essence of combustion masculinity lies not only in risk and competition but law. However, the show goes further. In its excessive performance of combustion masculinity it engages in gentle critique. In the post-industrial era where the motor vehicle's cultural status is declining Top Gear is itself a vehicle allowing combustion masculinity to be overtaken by less risky, less violent and more lawful ways of being male.
Law and Humanities
© 2013 Hart Publishing. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Law and Society