Class Year

2014

Date

4-15-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program

Sociology and Anthropology

First Advisor

Holly Swyers

Second Advisor

Todd Beer

Third Advisor

Susan Long

Abstract

United States transportation rates have revealed a driving decline over the last decade. Media sources report that young Americans are less interested in obtaining driver’s licenses than previous generations, citing technology, social media, and graduated driver’s licensing procedures as reasons. Explanations such as expense, lack of time, and the other transportation options, shown in results of survey research, are neglected in media accounts. Interviews I conducted with white suburban drivers reveal that Millennials obtain their licenses to fulfill responsibilities, whereas Generation X, Baby Boomer, and Silent Generation interviewees express that driving was motivated by social expectation, freedom, and independence. I contend that for the second half of the twentieth century, driving became hegemonic, and in the twenty-first century, driving is becoming ideological. The effort of media sources to trivialize Millennials’ motives reflects the broken hegemony of driving, and the ability to question driving in our culture presents potential for change.


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