Mapping the family road trip: the automobile, the family, and outdoor recreation in postwar British Columbia




Morris, Samantha

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This thesis is located at the intersection of several bodies of literature. While material exists on the histories of tourism, the automobile and the family, this combination of literature is previously uncharted territory in the history of British Columbia. By looking at the articles and advertisements published in newspapers and magazines, this work focuses on the dominant discourse surrounding the family and the automobile in postwar British Columbia. Conceptually, it is divided into two sections. The first discusses the role of the automobile in the postwar family, examining ways in which cultural producers framed it as a site of family togetherness and an essential component of modern fatherhood and masculine domesticity. This discourse correlated the automobile’s gendered dynamics with roles of modern parenthood and the experience of childhood, effectively blurring the distinction between the domestic and the public. The second section brings the family automobile into the natural environment, exploring ways in which the automobile and other outdoor technologies shaped the family’s relationship to nature. Through the gendered consumption of goods associated with the outdoors, cultural producers portrayed facilitation of the family’s access to the outdoors as a fundamental component of modern fatherhood.



British Columbia, families, automobility, automobiles, nature, recreation, postwar, gender, environment, advertisements, discourse, camping