From Booth to Shop to Shopping Mall: Continuities in Consumer Spaces from 1650 to 2000
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This thesis sets out to evaluate the role of consumer spaces in twentieth-century daily life. It is not concerned with the act of consumption but rather with the ways in which the social, cultural and educative role of the retail spaces is used as a marketing tool. The links that have been established between civic and commercial space over the last three hundred years are charted in order to locate the reasoning behind the growing tendency to design shopping malls as social and cultural spaces in the twentieth century. Three principal benefits to developers of the retails spaces from the promotion of consumer spaces as public spaces are identified in the thesis. First, links between the public and commercial developed to encourage potential customers into a particular retail space as opposed to its competition. Second, consumer spaces are developed as social and leisure spaces to encourage consumer loyalty. That is, they are developed as a means of encouraging repeat visits. Third, they are developed as a tactic to keep potential shoppers in the retail space for a longer duration. The logic behind this strategy being the more time spent in a consumer space the more goods purchased. The origins of this merchandising practice are traced back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries well before the advent of the department store form. The thesis located a number of strategies developed in the seventeenth century by tradesmen and merchants to sell their wares. At this time, it is evident that the consumer space was opened up to the public who were encouraged to enter without the obligation to purchase. Further, it is evident that, by the eighteenth century, shopkeepers and manufacturers' workshops included showrooms where potential customers could sit and take tea. Public spaces were also designed within the retail space so that potential customers could see and be seen. British shopkeepers often linked the retail space with the social practice of promenading by strategically situating their premises in an already established thoroughfare or site used for promenading. By the late eighteenth century, consumer spaces housed entertainment facilities such as art galleries, exhibitions and lounging rooms. After tracing the development of this merchandising strategy to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the links that can be made between twentieth-century consumer spaces is examined. In addition, the early developments of shopping centres in the 1940s and 1950s are surveyed and their developmental logic and merchandising strategies are compared with more recent forms of shopping malls developed from the 1970s and 1980s.
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Film, Media and Cultural Studies
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