Spaces for Consumption: Pleasure and Placelessness in the City
Miles, Steven (2010) Spaces for Consumption: Pleasure and Placelessness in the City Sagee, London. ISBN 1412946662
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Our cities are what we consume. In essence, the city is in fact nothing more than a space for consumption in which we apparently express ourselves as citizens of a consumer society. Consumption lies at the ideological core of the contemporary city and as such consumption spaces lie at the very heart of what it means to be a citizen of contemporary society. The contemporary city appears to be undergoing something of a transformation second only in scale to the onset of industrialisation. All around us are indications and representations of what has been labelled an ‘urban renaissance’, a period that promises good times ahead; times from which the city will emerge as the focal point for regenerative social change. Cities throughout Europe are being re-branded as places to be consumed; as tourist destinations, centres of culture and as places worthy of the cultured middle classes. But are such changes any more than purely symbolic? Do they represent a substantive shift in how we as human beings relate to the cities around us? Is the soul of the contemporary city being sold to the consumerist paymaster and if so what does this mean for the long term sustainability of our cities? 'Spaces for Consumption' is concerned with the contexts in which the omnipresent power of consumption is most powerfully expressed and in turn, how the human condition is reflected in these spaces. It therefore constitutes a contribution to key debates in sociology, human geography and cultural studies around the extent to which consumers are able to actively construct the urban environments with which they engage on an everyday basis.
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