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Shopping is a basic activity of urban life, structured by a market economy and institutionalizing, in turn, the cultures, rhythms, and social hierarchies of small local communities and the city as a whole. The places in which shopping is carried out—from neighborhood shops to downtown department stores and suburban shopping malls— provide microcosms of public space while confirming a shifting geography and scale of capital investment and changing demographics. Shopping streets and stores have always been important places of display as well as sources of excitement. If cities are sites of modernity, shopping is a way in which all city dwellers become modern.

Place, Identity, Sociability

Urban shopping begins in ancient times, with marketplaces that develop around the exchange of goods that are brought into town by ...

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