Chapter

Building: Shopping in Utopia

Peter Childs

in Texts

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780748620432
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671700 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748620432.003.0003
Building: Shopping in Utopia

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Malls have many features that can be analysed separately (from their opening hours to their security arrangements), but it is the design of the buildings themselves that attracts most attention, and particularly their spatio-temporal dimensions. Which is to say that the function of shopping mall architecture is usually thought to be to organise consumers’ movement through and perception of space in a world that would seek to be free of time. In a commodified culture, the shopping mall is there to provide everything the consumer needs materially but also spiritually: the marketing of love, fate, happiness, sexual attraction, community and personality all takes place in the mall. Though thought of as an exemplary expression of postmodern culture, the mall has its modern predecessors in the outdoor shopping centres that were a notable product of modernity: during the era Le Corbusier (1887–1965) decided the house was a machine for living in, the centre emerged as a machine for shopping in.

Keywords: Spatial Criticism; shopping malls; cultural geography

Chapter.  4427 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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