Chiara Rabbiosi

The never-ending dilemma of the democratization of consumption. Women, shopping and shopping malls in Italy

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: shopping, democracy of consumption, gender, shopping malls, power.

In recent decades, the so-called «democratization of consumption» has called for the possibility of social integration and empowerment through consumption acts. Here this process will be analysed in a gendered perspective, questioning discourses and practices in Outlet Villages - a typology of retail venue offering exclusive brands and high-quality commodities sold at 30% to 70% below usual price, inside a setting created to enhance the «experience» of consumption. On one hand, shopping places as such play a part in the production of images for identification under a frame of normality based on the ability to consume. On the other, the practice of shopping reveals different layers of dialogue between structure and agency, across shoppers - and specifically female shoppers - many identities. To conclude, I call for a more in-depth account of the democracy of consumption, and I claim that an analysis of the ambiguities that lend the practices of consumption meaning will help us to understand the powers and counter-powers at stake in the democracy of consumption itself.

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