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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:An academic milling around 'the mall': (de)constructing cultural knowledge
Author:Murray, Sally-AnnISNI
Year:1997
Periodical:Critical Arts: A Journal of Media Studies
Volume:11
Issue:1-2
Pages:153-176
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:consumers
retail trade
Link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02560049785310121
Abstract:There is a growing interest in shopping mall development in South Africa, fuelled by a postapartheid release into the market of new consumers, and a trend towards suburbanization. Working through a self-reflexive critical filter, the author brings together diverse discourses, such as scholarly research, commercial releases, popular reviews, informal comment, autobiography, and advertising, in order to defamiliarize a familiar phenomenon: to grant 'the mall' a more unusual character than tends to be recognized within the space of either everyday naturalization or academic critique. She explores, amongst others, the material and symbolic signification of malls within the South African context, the paradoxical nature of a mall 'community', the use of 'history' and 'heritage' as pivotal strategies in devising mall identity, people's experience of the mall as a network of diffuse, informal cultural knowledges, and malls as sites of resistance. She suggests that 'the mall' is materialized for consumers as much in the diffuse, popularly-mediated representations through which consumer culture is disseminated, as in actual architectural structure. 'The mall' forms part of a volatilized contemporary cultural repertoire. It cannot be invoked as an inherently banal or repressive form: the potential of the place-form is realized in its use, rather than being fixed in an immutable built structure. Bibliogr.
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