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					The ‘Malling’ of Europe




   Cultures of Consumption
Consumption and Consumerism
• Consumption, as the practice of the culture of
  consumerism (acquiring, purchasing, consuming,
  taking in, assimilating), is what (if not all) we do in the
  ‘developed’ postindustrial world
   – Consumption: using up a good or service until it no longer
     has value
   – W.W. Rostow (1960) characterized the most developed stage
     of society as “high mass consumption”
• In Europe consumerism, the culture of consumption, is
  big, very big!
• Single most important (if not the) means of social
  differentiation
   – Essential to formation of identities: local and regional
  The Rise of Retail
• ‘Postindustrial’ Economies
   – Decline of heavy industry (increasing costs)
   – Diversification of retailing, services, information
   – Europe as a large office complex for globalizing industrial
     economy
   – Retained high-tech manufacturing (information driven and also
     most responsive to needs of informational and financial sector of
     economy)
• Society less divided by class (the workplace), gender and
  race/ethnicity (so the argument goes)
   – ‘shopping’ becomes a critical activity in understanding and
     establishing one’s place in society
   – And, really, people are shopping crazy in Europe!
   – Rise of retail is reflected in the changing landscapes of Europe
  From Retail to ‘E-tail’ and the Super Superstore
• Retail and undergone progressive concentration
   – Fewer, larger sites
      • Out-of-town developments
   – Integration of downtowns (city centers) into pedestrianized malls
      • marketed under a single banner
   – More employees per outlet
   – Vertical integration
      • Single ownership of the supply chain
• Occurring at differential rate
   – North-south differential
• New forms of marketing
   – Appealing to consumer lifestyles
   – Convenience: including e-tailing
Continental Retailing
• Paddison and Paddison argue that “Euro-patterns” of
  consumption are emerging.
• Single market established new patterns early on
   – http://www.day-tripper.net/shoppingciteeurope.html
   – Now maturing though corporate structures
      •Homogenization of retail choices and cultures across
       Europe
   – Extending to former communist countries in EU
      •http://tesco-stores.jobs.cz/vrizeni.html
         – Catching-up with affluent Western- Northern Europe
Conclusion
• Retailing trends reflect broader uncertainty of future of
  Europe
   – Greater cohesion and equality; or less so?
      • Greater concentration and fewer but larger retail sites
          – Increasingly single company sites
              » Integrated services: food, insurance, finance, hardware, clothes
          – Internationalized retailing
      • Immigration transforming national cultures
          – Resisting homogenization of markets
          – Hybrid consumerist practices
              » Chicken tikka masala #1 dish in Britain (outdoes fish ‘n’ chips!)

• Consumption and consumerism as a lens for analyzing
  these broader political, social and cultural trends in
  Europe in 21st-century

				
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posted:7/15/2013
language:English
pages:6