Malls without stores (MwS): The affectual spaces of a buenos aires shopping mall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

External departments

  • University of Arizona

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalTransactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Volume39
Issue number1
Early online date2 Nov 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

As shopping malls have become increasingly common in urban and suburban landscapes, retail and consumer sciences have made these spaces more affectively intense by targeting the body of the consumer directly. Through a case study of a shopping mall in central Buenos Aires, Argentina, I suggest that non-representational theory offers advantages in studying spaces like malls for two reasons. First, shopping malls offer an opportunity to study the engineering of affect that is central to this emerging literature on materiality, politics and technology. The analysis, then, will lead to a discussion of the mall's capacity to function as a biopolitical technology as well as an economic one. Second, this approach sutures a false binary in the consumption literature between strong theories of producer power and the creativity of consumers. Interviews with mall visitors, participant observation and findings from ethnographic field work inform the figure of malls without stores (MwS), an analytic concept adapted from Deleuze and Guattari's body without organs (BwO) that reconfigures a binary reading of the consumption literature and expands the purview of what is political about these spaces.