Devrim Umut Aslan

Doctoral Student

Research areas and keywords

UKÄ subject classification

  • Social Sciences


  • Consumer Research, Consumption Studies, Urban Studies, Migrant Entrepreneurship, Visual Anthropology, Retail Geography, Practice Theory, Video Ethnography



I gained my bachelor degree from Bogazici University in Istanbul, at Sociology Department. In Sweden, I earned my masters in, “International Migration and Ethnical Relations” at Malmö University and later at Lund University I earned a “Master of Applied Cultural Studies”. There I wrote my master thesis on migrant entrepreneurs who are from Turkey and running restaurants in Malmö. Additionally, both in Istanbul and in Gothenburg I studied theatre science and was a part of amateur and semi-amateur theatre groups for almost ten years.

In 2013 I started my PhD studies at the Department of Service Management and Service Studies as a member of an interdisciplinary research project on retail consumption in the region of Helsingborg, which ended 2016 and primarily financed by City of Helsingborg and Helsingborg's Trade Association . As a group of researchers from Service Management Institution, we analyzed and mapped consumers’ practices from a holistic perspective and investigated the complex and shifting nature of shopping activity. My main contribution to this research project was utilizing video ethnography as a research method, and providing hands-on approach to studying consumer activities. The outcome of the research is published in a book-form which I co-edited together with Prof. Cecilia Fredriksson, the leader of the research group.

In addition to my position at the institution as a PHD candidate, I also worked as a retail analyst for City of Helsingborg between 2013-2017. In this position, I helped to construct a knowledge base for developing city-management strategies in the region of Helsingborg, consisting of eleven municipalities by providing analysis of global and local consumer trends, but also by executing short-term research projects such as multichannel city-retail, christmas commerce, sustainable city retail, consumers' preference of retail destination.

Since April 2017 I have solely been working on my dissertation project and my research is financed by Center for Retail Research at Lund University.

Shopping on a local high street

My dissertation project is based on a qualitative research study on shopping activities on a shopping street in Helsingborg.

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 pedestrianized high streets, new shopping malls, and flagship stores, and there is little literature on current situations in “other” retail geographies, particularly in local shopping streets.

My 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 my 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 in, are found to be premiere factors orchestrating how shopping is performed. Finally, my study illustrates that these shopping activities co-construct the street, materially and sensorially.

The research topics I am interested are:

  • Consumer Research
  • Consumption Studies
  • Retail Geography
  • Visual Anthropology
  • Migrant Entrepreneurship
  • Urban Studies

Recent research outputs

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