Lowrider car parked in garage. Water damage on the garage walls behind the car. Black and white poster showin Jim Morrison on garage wall, hung sideways. Some spraypainted black tag on the wall. Finger of photographer slightly covering camera lens.

Lowrider

Los Angeles, 2005. (The photo is not from the book referred to in the text to the right.)

Photo: Martin Høyem

 

Lowrider Space

We take a special interest in scientific works on outlaw aesthetics here at American Ethnography Quasimonthly. And we also love us some writing on car customization. Thus, when we heard about Ben Chappell’s Lowrider Space, a new publication from the University of Texas Press, we perked up: any academic hep cat who takes a look at lowriders is cool, calm, and a solid wig as far as we’re concerned.

Lowrider Space draws on Chappell’s participant observation fieldwork among car clubs in Austin, Texas. He describes how the lowrider culture creates a social space for its participants, and he points to the value of this space for a group of people who – because of their social status in the society they live in – are often denied access to other spaces.

It’s a cool piece of research, and we’re stoked to share with you an excerpt from the book. Here’s “Regulating Lowrider Space.”

Bajito y Suavecito

Jack Parsons is the grandson of pioneering anthropologist Elsie Clews Parsons, and tells us he has “a soft spot for cultural anthropology.” Check out this gallery we have put together, with his photos of New Mexico lowriders. (From Low ’n Slow: Lowriding in New Mexico; Museum of New Mexico Press, 1999).

Waltz and Swing: The Downfall of American Society

Patsy Holden writes about the history of the Waltz and Swing, both once considered “a nuisance and the downfall of American society.”

Abstract Leanings

With a distinct bouquet of gasoline fumes and burnt rubber, these Robt. Williams’ automobile related oil paintings will chase you down like ethnographic hallucinations, vibrantly artistic, generously fantastic.

Good dreams?

“He was leaning back on his elbows and crying, with his mouth in a funny position.”

Another one of Morris Edward Opler’s accounts, this one from 1938: The use of Peyote by the Carrizo and Lipan Apache tribes.

 

Becoming a Marihuana User

We have featured Howard Becker’s writing previously in American Ethnography (see Photography and sociology). Now we want to bring to your attention one of his earlier articles: Becoming a Marihuana User from 1953. Becker shines brilliantly with his typical scientific eloquence, as he describes the psychological and social factors that need to be in place for a neophyte to succesfully get high, and later be “willing and able to use the drug for pleasure when the opportunity presents itself.” Read on in this beautiful piece of social science, Becoming a Marihuana User.

What else?

Have you got some good stuff you think American Eth­no­gra­phy Quasi­monthly should cover? Please send us an email and tell us about it!

Proposal to perfume within your region

“It is my wish to book with you for a group of 10 students coming from Germany, as they are preparing for their contracted proposal to perfume within your region.”

More on our feedback page.

 

“This coal camp offers none of the modern types of amusement and many of the people attend the services of this church more for the mass excitement and emotionalism than because of belief in the tenets of this church.” See the gallery here

What’s all this, then?
Black and white pen drawing of car interior with chain steering wheel.

American Ethnography is a stranger in a 1972 Riviera, sunburst yellow banged up and dirty, raving coffee madness cruising Main Street of the quiet desert town at 15 miles an hour …”

 
Record sleeve art: Emmylou Harris Luxury Liner

Today we’re digging Luxury Liner by Emmylou Harris.

amazon | iTunes


 
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