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 8: Themed Parks
The theme park is arguably the quintessential physical manifestation of the consumer society. It constitutes the ultimate commercial environment and offers escape through experiential homogeneity (Davis, 1996). It offers a non-conflictual environment promoting the riches of a consumer society within what is in actual fact a highly uniform and controlled setting. Many authors have commented on the preponderance of themed environments and their key role in city life. Urry (2002) describes themed environments as, effectively, the inauthentic ‘made authentic’. They are hyper-real environments, an idealised version of reality that we carry around in our heads and which we expect to be acted upon and presented to us to be consumed. But the apparent dominance of themed environments has motivated what might be ...