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Cecilia Cassinger

Place branding, brand communication, communication geography, sustainability, activism, cities


Consuming place, contesting spatial imaginaries


  • Cecilia Cassinger
  • Jack Coffin
  • Szilvia Gyimóthy
  • Maria Lichrou


  • G. Patsiaouras
  • J. Fitchett
  • M. Earley

Summary, in English

The last few years has seen the emergence of anti-consumption narratives (Chatzidakis and Lee, 2012; Cherrier, 2009), which contest the marketisation of places, and the way that property and space are currently organised by their exchange values, rather than use values (cf. Visconti et al., 2010). Anti-consumption acts disrupt key social imaginaries of places and are apparent in demonstrations and protests around the world related to macro societal issues, such as globalisation, climate crisis, migration, overtourism, and social inequalities (see Colomb and Novy, 2016). Such narratives do not only challenge the intensified commodification of space, but also the way that “socialities, subjectivities and spatialities are constituted in space” (Mansvelt, 2005, xvi).
This special session extends previous research in consumer culture theory on how anti-consumption acts challenge established imaginaries of place (Chatzidakis et al., 2012; Chatzidakis and Lee, 2012; Visconti et al., 2010) by focusing on the performativity of spatial imaginaries. Spatial imaginaries are here thought of as collectively shared performative discourses that intervene and shape social reality via embodied, material practices (Watkins, 2015; Butler, 1993). The aim of the session is to examine spatial imaginaries that contest conventional strategies of organising places according to a consumerist logic for increased economic growth. The session focuses on spatial imaginaries that challenge the spatial status quo and provoke new ideas of what it means to inhabit places. Each of the three papers in the special session address the logics and consequences of spatial imaginaries for the practices and organisation of place in various ways.
The first paper investigates how consumerist imaginaries of urban space are symbolically and materially reconsidered in citizens’ protests acts against the bourgeoning touristification of inner cities in Europe. Informed by a relational and material understanding of space and theories on the public sphere, the temporalities and spatialities of public protests are analysed as ways of re-gaining the lifeworld from the material and expressive colonialization of tourism-consumption. It is argued that in order to preserve the public sphere, urban governing strategies are shifting focus from spatial imaginaries of consumerism to imaginaries of the lived city of dwellers.
The second paper problematizes the affective resonance and intensities of urban crowds, by exploring the role of individuals’ moods (anxiety, apathy, stress, rage and boredom) in enhancing or disturbing spatial atmospheres. It argues that diverse co-located and intersecting mobility practices create affective intensities that simultaneously carry the potential of the urban buzz and the risk of coalescing into enduring anomalies in spatial imaginaries.
But where might spatial reimaginings take us? The third paper addresses this question with the concept of ’fourth space’ as a virtual space of ’possible places’. Virtual spaces are understood as a plethora of ‘possible spaces’, where it is possible to foresee alternative futures and inhabit revolutionary imaginaries.


  • Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation






Research in Consumer Culture Theory






  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • places
  • spatial imaginaries
  • contestation
  • anti-consumption

Conference name

Consumer Culture Theory Conference

Conference date

2020-06-26 - 2020-06-29

Conference place

Leicester, United Kingdom




  • Rethinking urban tourism development: Dealing with sustainability in the age of over-tourism
  • Rethinking urban tourism development: Dealing with sustainability in the age of over-tourism
  • Rethinking urban tourism development: Dealing with sustainability in the age of over-tourism