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The joy of motoring: Lifestyles and emotional experience

The "joy of motoring" has been discredited in the discourse on shortage of mineral oil and global warming. The assumption that "the joy of motoring" is an intersubjectively unambiguous category, suggested by its common usage, is questioned.

Project No. G 303

Christa Bös

Taking into account psychological appraisal theories of emotion and sociological research on lifestyles it is assumed that different lifestyle groups have different positive feelings as well as different cars in mind when talking about the joy of motoring:

According to appraisal theories, individuals evaluate the subjective meaning of an object with regard to their motives, values, attitudes and other cognitive structures. It is the result of this appraisal process that determines if and which emotion is elicited. As cognitive structures like motives, values, and attitudes are distributed across lifestyle groups non-arbitrarily it is assumed that emotional reactions are distributed in analogous socially structured ways.

This assumption is tested empirically on selected lifestyle groups in Germany. Lifestyle-specific contexts of subjective meanings of the joy of motoring are reconstructed by explorative interviews. Based on these contexts of subjective meanings a questionnaire study as well as an evaluation experiment is designed.

Psychological and sociological theories and methods are combined in order to investigate how individual emotional experience is embedded within over arching socio-cultural value and meaning systems.




Prof. Dr. Christian von Scheve

Prof. Dr. Michael Eid