This special section on “Degendering the Driver” explores how gender intervenes
in the potential shift from a driver-centered to a driverless car culture.
It focuses on representations of imagined futures—prototypes, media images,
and popular discourses of driverless cars. Following the tradition of feminist
cultural studies of technoscience, we ask in our introduction how these new
techno-imaginaries of autonomous driving are gendered and racialized. We aim
to explore if the future user of an autonomous car is gendered or degendered in
the current media discourse. The four articles explore what kinds of images are
used, what promises are made, and how the discourse about autonomous driving
is influenced by gendered norms. Some authors emphasize that self-driving
vehicles could encourage pluralized forms of masculinity. Nonetheless, all authors
conclude that driverless cars alone will not degender the driver but rather
encourage a multiplication of gendered and racialized technologies of mobility.
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