HomeMerchant spaces, malls and urban landscapes in a globalised world

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Merchant spaces, malls and urban landscapes in a globalised world

Espaces marchands, centre commercial et paysage urbain dans un monde globalisé

Commerce et culture special session

Session spéciale de « Commerce et culture »

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Published on Thursday, February 08, 2018


Le centre commercial est souvent désigné aujourd'hui comme un équipement créant de la « désurbanisation » ou associé aux « non-lieux » (Augé 1992), il apparaît comme un des « objet » urbain visible d'une mondialisation financière détruisant les paysages locaux pour produire un paysage standard. Ainsi, à bien des égards, le centre commercial semble surgir, faire irruption dans un paysage familier, voire quotidien, et bouleverse son ordonnacement. Cependant, il ne peut s'établir et connaître un certain succès que dans un paysage urbain, social et culturel en mouvement. Il s'insère peu à peu dans un environnement qui se restructure, il n'en est pas la seule composante mais il en est un marqueur.



Nowadays, the mall is often referred to as an equipment downgrading the city and, as such, it is often associated with what Augé (1992) called a “no-place” (non-lieu), a sort of characterless place where people are for a certain time, doing certain things without no real connections to the surrounding. For some, it is a sort of urban symbol of globalization, seen as a process which destroys local meaningful landscapes to produce a standard meaningless landscape. However, as we know, shopping malls are not new urban equipment; whatever forms they have been taking recently, we can consider them simply as being an avatars of the multiple forms urban retail places have taken throughout the years.

However, the multiplication of centers and their diffusion on a global scale leads the designers to build a new generation of centers in which the retail combines with the leisure. This is to say the distracting nature of shopping, the "shopping outing" by what it is, but also by its association with other equipment such as cinemas, an ice rink (Québec) or a ski station (Dubaï). These newest shopping malls are for sure a place to be, in its parts as well as a whole: published photos of its "shopping sprees" on social networks underline it. Socially speaking, as “a place to be” it also affirms a modernist discourse, that is, the possibility, event temporarily, to enjoy the products of modernization (the material world) coupled with the possibility of being one among others, freed from the norms of tradition or local or ethnic culture. In many ways, we could consider the shopping center as a deconstructing object of the urban landscape. It brings with its existence, attendance, sharing a global experience that may seem threatening to local trade. However, it cannot establish itself and be successful only in a moving urban, social and cultural landscape. It is inserted gradually in an environment that is restructuring itself; it is not the only component but it is a marker. 

Main themes

This session will seek papers that address but are not limited to the following themes: 

  •  mutations of commercial spaces
  •  the commercial spaces as new places of militancy
  •  the effects of e-commerce on physical trade
  •  the forms of traditional commerce and their adaptations to the new societal context
  •  the conflicts and resistance caused by new businesses, etc.


 no more than 250 words, they should be submitted to Professor Nathalie Lemarchand

no later than March 15th,

at nlemarchan@aol.com

Organisateurs / Conveners 

  • Nathalie Lemarchand, département de Géographie, Université Paris 8, UMR Ladyss, nlemarchan@aol.com 
  • Désiré Dabie Nassa, département de Géographie, Université Houphoët-Boigny, dabienassa@gmail.com


  • Centre des congrès de Québec - 1000 Boulevard René-Lévesque
    Quebec City, Canada


  • Thursday, March 15, 2018


  • paysage, commerce, local, global,centre commercial, consommation


  • Nathalie Lemarchand
    courriel : nlemarchand02 [at] univ-paris8 [dot] fr

Information source

  • Nathalie Lemarchand
    courriel : nlemarchand02 [at] univ-paris8 [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Merchant spaces, malls and urban landscapes in a globalised world », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Thursday, February 08, 2018, https://calenda.org/432500

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