Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




John C. Weaver




The psychological dimension of technology, while extremely important, is one which hitherto has largely remained unexplored. This dissertation is an inquiry into the nonphysical alterations created by the automobile, an examination of some fundamental perceptual changes brought about by the automobile's introduction into Ontario prior to 1930. As the speed and ease of travel by automobile increased, there developed an appreciation that traditional temporal and spatial boundaries had diminished. However, along with a sense of personal liberation, the automobile's mobility brought with it many unanticipated effects, including the renegotiation of established rural-urban relationships and the greater regulation and bureaucratization of the province. Such perceptual changes were reflected in and reinforced by cultural forms such as advertising or popular fiction. Equally important the automobile assumed a symbolic importance often far removed from its strict transportational capabilities, such that it became a symbol of socioeconomic success or of the sometimes strained relations between farmers and the city. Technology possesses a personal human dimension which must not be overlooked, for as this dissertation examines, the:automobile's social meaning was often as important as its technological capabilities.

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