In this article, I map out landscaping practices by Thuringian long-distance truck drivers. Drawing on extended fieldwork, I show that contemporary truck drivers who drive the German and European highways with their political (and often racist) ideas in tow, structure their landscapes according to the four cardinal points. While getting disillusioned by experiences of an unwelcoming West that loses its utopic shine it had during the times of the German separation, Thuringian drivers strongly refuse to subsume themselves into a European East, which they “orientalize” as dangerous and barbaric. I argue that as a solution to this lived tension between East/West, Thuringian truckers increasingly relocate utopic places into the European North and South while intermingling geographies with ideologies, drawing especially from popular country music.
Manuel Moser is a PhD candidate at the Erfurt and Graz based International Graduate School “Resonant Self–World Relations in Ancient and Modern Socio-Religious Practices,” where he investigates what characterizes a “good life” in the trucking milieu. He is particularly interested in more-than-human agency and follows in his dissertation project the trucks’ migration patterns across the Atlantic, exploring the (dis-)continuities in old German lorries’ (re-)socializations among Bolivian drivers. Manuel Moser holds a Master's degree in International Studies from the University of Barcelona and Bachelor degrees in Religious Studies and Media and Communication Studies from the University of Fribourg (Switzerland). E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org