Spaces for Consumption offers an in-depth and sophisticated analysis of the processes that underpin the commodification of the city and explains the physical manifestation of consumerism as a way of life. Engaging directly with the social, economic, and cultural processes that have resulted in our cities being defined through consumption this vibrant book clearly demonstrates the ways in which consumption has come to play a key role in the reinvention of the post-industrial city. The book provides a critical understanding of how consumption redefines the consumers' relationship to place using empirical examples and case studies to bring the issues to life. It discusses many of the key spaces and arenas in which this redefinition occurs including shopping, themed space, mega-events, and architecture.
Developing the notion of ‘contrived communality,’ Steven Miles outlines the ways in which consumption, alongside the emergence of an increasingly individualized society, constructs a new kind of relationship with the public realm. Clear, sophisticated, and dynamic, this book will be essential reading for students and researchers alike in sociology, human geography, architecture, planning, marketing, leisure and tourism, cultural studies, and urban studies.
Chapter 2: The Individualised City?
The Individualised City?
Perhaps the defining characteristic of contemporary society is the shift towards a more individualistic, privatised society. In this chapter, I will suggest that processes of individualisation have had a key role to play in readjusting the relationship between the individual and society and thus in our relationship with the urban environment. Not only have the apparent freedoms that we like to feel we are able to explore through the opportunities consumption provides us redefined our relationship to the city, but they have fundamentally altered what it means to be a citizen of contemporary society. To belong is to be a consumer. It could therefore be argued that in a privatised world, our ‘citizenship’, so far as it exists, is manifested ...