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Spaces for Consumption

Spaces for Consumption

  • Steven Miles - University of Brighton, UK, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

September 2010 | 216 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Spaces for Consumption offers an in-depth and sophisticated analysis of the processes that underpin the commodification of the city and explains the physical manifestation of consumerism as a way of life.

Engaging directly with the social, economic, and cultural processes that have resulted in our cities being defined through consumption this vibrant book clearly demonstrates the ways in which consumption has come to play a key role in the reinvention of the post-industrial city

The book provides a critical understanding of how consumption redefines the consumers' relationship to place using empirical examples and case studies to bring the issues to life. It discusses many of the key spaces and arenas in which this redefinition occurs including shopping,  themed space, mega-events, and architecture.

Developing the notion of 'contrived communality,' Steven Miles outlines the ways in which consumption, alongside the emergence of an increasingly individualized society, constructs a new kind of relationship with the public realm.

Clear, sophisticated, and dynamic, this book will be essential reading for students and researchers alike in sociology, human geography, architecture, planning, marketing, leisure and tourism, cultural studies, and urban studies.

Introduction: The City of Complicity
The Individualized City
Creating Cities
Consuming Culture
Architectures of Consumption
Shopping for Dreams
The Spectacular Mega-Event
Themed Parks
Conclusion: Spaces for Consumption; Places of Experience

In Spaces for Consumption Steven Miles develops a penetrating critique of a key shift characterising the contemporary city. Theoretically informed, the other strength of the volume lies in the wealth of examples that are drawn upon to show how cities are becoming spaces for consumption, which has itself rapidly become a global phenomenon.

Ronan Paddison
University of Glasgow

This is a great book. Powerfully written and lucid, it provides a thorough introduction to concepts of consumption as they relate to the spaces of cities. The spaces themselves - the airports, the shopping malls, the museums and cultural quarters - are analysed in marvellous detail, and with a keen sense of historical precedent. And, refreshingly, Miles doesn't simply dismiss cultures of consumption out of hand, but shows how as consumers we are complicit in, and help define those cultures. His book makes a major contribution to our understanding of contemporary cities, but is accessible enough to appeal to any reader with an interest in this important area.

Richard Williams
Edinburgh University

Challenges the accepted idea that post-industrial cities should be flagships of consumer culture. Through a wide-ranging survey of the literature, Miles shows that shopping malls, art museums, and spectacular festivals really create a less authentic experience of urban life.

Sharon Zukin
author of 'Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places'

Spaces for Consumption is a very important book, and perhaps the most instructive English book in urban studies published in the last five years. Its theoretical framework is rich and diversified; many quotes borrowed from other publications (either in cultural geography, urban studies, cultural studies, or sociology) are almost like little treasures because of their diversity and usefulness. Spaces and Consumption is the kind of book that puts names and concepts behind ideas and trends.

Yves Laberge
Journal of Cultural Geography

Useful background reading for students focusing on consumption for their essay or main research project topic.

Dr Peter Oakley
Gold/Silversmithing,Metalwork&Jeweller, Royal College of Art
November 15, 2016

Clear and current examination of the main issues around consumption spaces. Useful support for case study discussions with students

Dr Peter Oakley
School of Material, Royal College of Art
November 20, 2015

This is a fantastic resource on the city. Miles goes beyond looking at the pervasive nature of consumption that has, in the past few decades, succeeded in reshaping the contemporary city and its architecture, and looks at how it produces new ontologies and realities.

The book comes alive when the epiphenomena of consumption take centre stage: the emergence of the curated city offering experience and spectacle as a form of commodity; as well as the rise of new synthetic forms of community engendered by the marriage of virtual forms of social media and the real instantiations of these experiential and spectacular environments.

Mr Andrei Martin
Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment, University of Westminster
March 22, 2015

A fantastic text but not what I thought it might be and unfortunately it doesn't suit the course

Mr Mark Timoney
Social Science, Sligo Institute of Technology
February 18, 2015

Excellent book on both space/place in urban sociology and the consumptive aspects of the modern economy. Students would find a number of articles interesting, but the broader discussion around globalization would be lost in favor of focusing on a few topics. Good book for course on McDonaldization or Consumptive Spaces.


Mr Mark Caldwell
Sociology Dept, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
September 19, 2013

Excellent and diverse readings. Well written and enjoyable even if you are not using it as a teaching aid. Particularly enjoyed material on Glasgow

Ms Maria Feeney
Politics and Sociology (Paisley), University of the West of Scotland
August 5, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Introduction: The City of Complicity

Steven Miles

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ISBN: 9781412946667
ISBN: 9781412946650

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