Life style boutiques: Women and Merchandising in Coastal Commerce

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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Abstract

This is a dissertation about life style boutiques and the shopkeepers who operate them. Lifestyle boutiques are shops where a variety of goods and services is offered and staged as an overall concept, often targeted to specific groups and tastes with atmosphere-creating aesthetics. Aiming to understand how lifestyle is made into retail enterprising, this narrative ethnography describes and analyses stories about and from lifestyle boutiques. Taking point of departure in Pierre Bourdieu's field theory I depict lifestyle boutiques as an area within the field of retail where customers, influencers, media, retailers and suppliers gather around and negotiate specific conceptions and practices. The idea of the shopkeeper as part of a larger context where the forms and ideals for her occupation is negotiated works as an entry point to see and understand the order that organizes the lifestyle boutiques and the collective and symbolic structures where they are embedded.

By putting the lifestyle boutique and the shopkeepers' work in a social and cultural context my objective is to shed light on and problematize lifestyle boutiques as a contemporary phenomenon and make a contribution to the theory development of the growing field of aesthetic labour and aesthetic work. This field proceeds from the notion that aesthetics is a lifestyle marker that gives status and competitive advantages to companies and organizations. The narratives from and about lifestyle boutiques point to several knowledge gaps in relation to how aesthetic work is usually understood and discussed. The staging practices that I identify and discuss open for a wider understanding of aesthetic work where practices that entail handling and staging of things, both physically and how they are depicted, could also be included. This means an understanding of aesthetic work beyond physical expressions and audiences, where aesthetic work is understood as material and narrative staging practices where things are arranged and prepared to correspond to a certain aesthetic or desired expression. This way of understanding and using aesthetic work adds more dimensions to the term that hitherto mostly has been limited to embodied gendered and class-coded abilities.
Translated title of the contributionLife style boutiques: Women and Merchandising in Coastal Commerce
Original languageSwedish
QualificationDoctor
Awarding Institution
  • Department of Service Management and Service Studies
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Fredriksson, Cecilia, Supervisor
  • Andersson Cederholm, Erika, Assistant supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date2018 Dec 7
Place of PublicationGöteborg och Stockholm
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-91-7061-278-7
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Nov 13

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2018-12-07
Time: 13:15
Place: room U 203, Campus Helsingborg, Universitetsplatsen 2, Helsingborg
External reviewer(s)
Name: Kaijser, Lars
Title: Docent
Affiliation: Stockholm University
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Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Keywords

  • aesthetic work
  • Bourdieu
  • femininity
  • gender
  • retail
  • service studies

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