Snarl: In Defense of Stalled Traffic and Faulty Networks
It is possible to imagine a theory of democracy and a constitutional history independent of human subjectivity.
Ruth A. Miller excavates a centuries-old history of nonhuman and nonbiological constitutional engagement and outlines a robust mechanical democracy that challenges existing theories of liberal and human political participation. Drawing on an eclectic set of legal, political, and automotive texts from France, Turkey, and the United States, she proposes a radical mechanical rearticulation of three of the most basic principles of democracy: vitality, mobility, and liberty.
Rather than defending a grand theory of materialist or posthumanist politics, or addressing abstract concepts or “things” writ large, Miller invites readers into a self-contained history of constitutionalism situated in a focused discussion of automobile traffic congestion in Paris, Istanbul, and Boston. Within the mechanical public sphere created by automotive space, Snarl finds a model of democratic politics that transforms our most fundamental assumptions about the nature, and constitutional potential, of life, movement, and freedom.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Mechanical Constitutionalism
Vitality, Mobility, and Liberty
2. Traffic: A Literature Review
Traffic and the Public Sphere
Traffic and Borders
Traffic and Military Violence
Traffic and Rights
Traffic and Civilization
3. Networks: A Literature Review
Networks and the Public Sphere
Networks and Military Violence
Networks and Speech: Machine Code versus
Excavating the Automotive Public Sphere
Automotive Vitality: Storage and Circulation
Archiving the Automotive Public Sphere
Bridge and Tunnel
Automotive Mobility: Billboards and Monuments
Delimiting the Automotive Public Sphere
Automotive Liberty: Intersections and Pollution
7. Drones: A Case Study
Conclusion: Theories of Freedom
8. Conclusion: Stalled Traffic and Faulty Networks
Why Should Humans Care?
Reviews and Endorsements
“Pushes the current notion of materialism to its logical conclusions in ways that leave other, nominally radical materialist theories in the dust.” —James Martel, San Francisco State University“[Miller] makes clear the relevance of non-human entities and systems to human politics and to our enmeshment and embedding in them; these material entities are not external to us and thus must be deemed players in our polities and political theory.” —Samir Chopra, Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York