“Sobbing, Whining, Rumbling” – Listening to Automobiles as Social Practice
Who listened to cars in the 1920s? Who listened to the sound of its technical malfunctions in the 1950s? Who were the experts to diagnose failures by their ‘golden ears’ (Perlman 2004)? What role did listening play in early automobility? To answer these questions, my paper will analyze how different actor groups in Germany listened to automobiles between the end of World War I and roughly 1960. Further, I’ll focus on car technology’s middle ground – the space between production and consumption (Borg 2007: 1–12).