Shopping and Praxitopia: The Place of Local High Streets in Urban Space

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Retail and place have always been in a dynamic interrelation throughout the history. However particularly in the last three decades
there have been some radical shifts in the outcomes of this interrelationship. The spatial formation of stores, shopping streets,
malls, and in turn, cities have dramatically changed. These contemporary shifts, formations and transformations in the retail
geographies have found also their reflection in the related academic literature. However the main empirical focus has been mostly
on the "spectacular" new shopping environments, such as upmarket high streets, newer shopping malls, and flagship stores, and
there is little literature on current situations in “other” retail geographies, particularly in local high streets.
This study sheds light on shopping activities on local high streets, how these performances co-construct the streets, and in what
meaningful ways local streets become integral elements of wider urban retail context. It contributes specifically to the theoretical
discussion in cultural turn within retail geography on the interplay between consumers and retail places. While doing this, the study
engages with “practice theory”, which supplies a profound conceptual framework for analyzing people’s everyday routines. The
major method employed in the study is video-ethnography, due to its capability to synchronically appreciate shopping activities,
shoppers’ reflections, the sensomaterial environment of the street, and the movement within.
Södergatan, a local shopping street in the stigmatized southern part of Helsingborg, Sweden, is chosen as a case study for the
inquiry. Initially established as a working-class district in the 19th century, today it mostly hosts so-called migrant
entrepreneurships, service-based premises, and convenience stores. The research shows that there are place-specific shopping
activities that are executed on the street. The spatiotemporal context, larger social context and the sensomateriality in which
shoppers are embedded, are found to be premiere factors orchestrating how shopping is performed. Finally, it is illustrated that
these shopping activities co-construct the street, both materially and sensorially.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Original languageEnglish
StateUnpublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch
EventSociologidagarna 2018: Sociology in a polarized world - Lund university, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 2018 Mar 72018 Mar 9


ConferenceSociologidagarna 2018