"What “makes” local high streets meaningful? A video-ethnography of shopping practice at urban margin

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


"This study investigates shopping activities on local high streets. It examines also shopping’s role in shaping these streets into places of meaningful shopping, and important parts of urban landscapes, in the context of global retail restructuring. Södergatan, a local high street in Helsingborg -a middle-sized city in Sweden, is chosen as a case for the inquiry, where was initially established as the main street of an emerging working-class district in the 19th century (Folklivsgruppen, 1987; Ranby, 2005; Högdahl, 2007).Since 1980s, there have been some substantial shifts at the global scale regarding the organization of retail, and in turn, its spatial manifestations in the cities (Wrigley & Lowe, 1996, 2002; Mansvelt, 2005; Kärrholm & Nylund, 2011; Aslan & Fredriksson, 2017). However, the main empirical focus has been mostly on the ""spectacular"" new shopping environments (Crewe, 2000; Mansvelt, 2005). The limited research on local high streets disclosed that these “other” retail geographies, after all, function as significant cultural, social and economic hubs in our cities, and they develop innovative resilience strategies dealing with global impacts (Rabikowska, 2010; Hall, 2012; Findlay & Sparks, 2012; Zukin, 2012; Zukin et al., 2016; Carmona, 2015; Clossick, 2017). However, the existing studies mostly focused on local high streets in so-called global cities (Sassen, 2005), where acquired peculiar qualities through contemporary globalization. Additionally, these studies seldom paid attention to consumer practices, such as shopping, to understand and make sense of these local high streets. Aiming to contribute to the literature developed in the field of retail geography after “cultural turn” (Wrigley & Lowe, 1996; Crewe, 2000, 2003; Gregson et al., 2002; Goss, 2004; Wrigley, 2009), this research utilize another body of literature, “practice theory” in formulating shopping as a social practice, and investigating its co-constitutive and recursive interrelationship with retail places and retail geographies (Schatzki, 1996; Schatzki et al., 2001; Reckwitz, 2002; Warde, 2005, 2014; Shove et al., 2012). The major method employed in the study is video-ethnography, due to its capability to synchronically appreciate shopping activities, consumers’ reflections, the sensory and material environment of the street, and the movement within (Belk & Kozinet, 2005; Pink, 2007; Jewitt, 2012)."


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Human Geography


  • High street, Retail, Shopping, Local high street
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 28
Publication categoryResearch
EventRGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018 - Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 2018 Aug 282018 Aug 31


ConferenceRGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Related projects

View all (1)