Roundtable: Critical inquiries into places of consumption and consumption in places
Summary, in English
A growing body of consumer culture theory (CCT) research has pointed to the way that places are increasingly conceptualised and commodified as brands and consumption objects (Lichrou et al., 2008; Giovanardi et al., 2018). Research has explored consumers’ experiences with different kinds of spaces and places, including retail settings (e.g. Penaloza, 1998; Kozinets et al., 2004; Maclaran & Brown, 2005), natural and cultural attractions (e.g. Arnould and Price, 1993; Chronis et al., 2012), public (e.g. Visconti et al., 2010; Chatzidakis et al., 2012; O’Leary et al., 2019) and private places (e.g. Costa, 1989; Hirschmann et al., 2012) and virtual spaces (e.g. Denegri-Knott & Molesworth, 2010). Earlier accounts almost entirely focused on compartmentalised spaces and commercial arenas as containers of consumption, but more recent research examine the mutual constituency of consumption and space. For example, attention has turned to the interplay between consumers’ embodied spatial practices and the construction of place and space (Lucarelli & Giovanardi, 2016; O’Leary et al., 2019). However, further consideration of how consumer imaginaries and practices produce and transform places is called for (cf. Chatzidakis et al., 2018; Chatzidakis et al., 2012). Moreover, more consideration should be given to critical perspectives on the relational construction of consumption space.Places around the globe are currently reimagined as spaces of consumption (Miles, 2010, Massey, 2005), where sensations, dreams and play are mobilised with the sole aim of creating profit (Amin & Thrift, 2002). These processes often transform places into commodified and exlusionary spaces that can be detrimental for those living in them (Kearns & Philo, 1993, Lichrou et al., 2014; Kavaratzis et al., 2017). The commodifying logic of the economic politics of places diminishes the spaces where people lead their everyday life, make decisions, and cope with things other than the purely economic (Habermas, 1987). Such spaces are, as De Certeau (1984, 87) puts it, “haunted by countless ghosts that lurk there in silence to be “evoked” or not”. Yet, places are important sites of human activities beyond the commercial realm. The mobility of global capital, investments and growing volumes of international visitors and migrant labour have put these livehoods under multiple spatial and social pressures (ranging from crowding and environmental degradation to gentrification, and displacement), which has fuelled the upscaling of responsible or political consumerism and morally conscious policy agendas.This roundtable discussion brings together researchers representing different critical perspectives on place consumption. The aim is to provide an opportunity to talk about the meaning and implications of critical theory for the conceptualisation, analysis and collection of data regarding consumption in and of place (Chatzidakis et al., 2018) on multiple scales, ranging from micro-level practices to macro-level perspectives. More specifically, the discussion focuses on the conjunction of commodified and lived space, as well as on the complexities and social imaginaries arising in shared spaces. By virtue of the critical inquiry, the aim is to identify the empirical potential and conceptual possibilities embedded in such hybrid spaces, with regard to sustainable and inclusive place consumption and governance.