Das Zweite Jahrhundert Des Automobils. Technische Innovationen, öKonomische Dynamik Und Kulturelle Aspekte (the Second Century of the Automobile: Technical Innovations, Economic Dynamics and Cultural Aspects)

Article excerpt

Weert Canzler and Gert Schmidt (eds), Das zweite Jahrhundert des Automobils. Technische Innovationen, ökonomische Dynamik und kulturelle Aspekte (The second century of the automobile: technical innovations, economic dynamics and cultural aspects), Verlag Sigma, Berlin (2003), 258 pp., è19.80.

Das zweite Jahrhundert des Automobils is a collection of fourteen articles which highlights the development of today's automobilism. The book is the result of a conference held in 2002 at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB) in Berlin and published in a series. The primary contributors are social scientists, but engineers and historians also have a say. This broad composition of the body of authors is, however, the main problem of the book. It encompasses too much, the approaches are too different, and no common thesis or method is discernible.

Ulrich Jürgens, a political scientist from the WZB, informs us about how the production of automobiles has changed. He is an expert in comparing types of production technology and can give insightful explanations for the relatively strong position of European car production. Willi Diez analyses the marketing policies of the car industry. André Metzner and Thomas Waschke of Daimler-Chrysler Research present a sociological reflection on the state of fuel cell technology. Rudolf Petersen, a transport expert at the ecological Wuppertal Institute forecasts the future of the Otto engine. Günter Halbritter asks how information and communication techniques can be used in the transport sector. Weert Canzler, one of the editors, explains new forms of everyday mobility and Andreas Knie introduces the carsharing programme of Deutsche Bahn (German Railways). …