Call for Papers: UnCultivated Landscapes of Consumption

RGS/IBG Annual International Conference 28th-31st August.

Sponsored by the RGS Food Geographies Working Group

Session organisers: Jack Pickering ( & Mara Miele (

Discussant: David Evans (

Whether it be through neoliberal justifications for retail development (Zukin et al., 2009) or through accounts of the social value of convivial marketplaces (Watson 2008), it is widely recognised that spaces for consumption play crucial roles in contemporary public spaces and the city beyond their economic functions. Despite significant work looking at the role of the senses and materiality in consumption practices, and another similarly significant body of work looking at the exclusionary and inclusionary effects of consumption cultures, it is not clear that the intersection between these has been fully explored. The position of agency within these attempts has been contested recently as seen in the recent practice turn (Warde, 2015), and this is the central theoretical motivation for this session. The consumer is involved in consumption, but beyond that, there is much debate on how far their agency can be said to extend. Empirically, we would welcome attention to consumption spaces that could be described as:

  • Marginalised/Marginal
  • Informal/Unregulated
  • Neglected/Overlooked
  • Emergent/Controversial

The aim of this paper session is to, therefore, bring together researchers from different fields, within and outside of geography who are working on the (mis)management and (dis)organisation of consumption spaces. Within urbanism and consumption studies there has been much attention to spectacular forms of consumption sites such as malls (Shields, 1989; Goss, 1993; Jewell, 2016; Staeheli and Mitchell, 2006), while other approaches to consumption and consumer culture have tended to coalesce around individual or collective experiences (Warde, 2015), neglecting more isolated sites (Findlay and Sparks, 2012). In response to growing attention to how mundane varieties of consumption and consumption spaces are organized, this session aims to bring together those aiming to investigate these spaces as co-produced geographical phenomena.

Contributions from disciplines outside geography are welcomed, particularly from critical marketing, sociology, design, and architecture, as are inter-disciplinary papers. Innovative or novel methodological approaches and modes of delivery are welcome from both new and established scholars.

Please send abstracts of between 250-300 words by 14th February 2018 to the organizers. Draft papers/presentations will be requested after confirmation.


Findlay, A. and Sparks, L. 2012. Far from the ‘Magic of the Mall’: Retail (Change) in ‘Other Places’. Scottish Geographical Journal 128(1), pp. 24–41.

Goss, J. 1993. The “Magic of the Mall”: An Analysis of Form, Function, and Meaning in the Contemporary Retail Built Environment. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 83(1), pp. 18–47.

Jewell, N. 2016. Bringing it Back Home: The Urbanization of the British Shopping Mall as the West Goes East. 1(1), pp. 1–36.

Shields, R. 1989. Social spatialization and the built environment: the West Edmonton Mall. Environment and Planning D  7(147–184), pp. 147–164.

Staeheli, L.A. and Mitchell, D. 2006. USA’s Destiny? Regulating Space and Creating Community in American Shopping Malls. Urban Studies 43(5/6), pp. 977–992.

Warde, A. 2015. The Sociology of Consumption: Its Recent Development INTRODUCTION: LOCATING CONSUMPTION. Annual Review of Sociology 41, pp. 117–134.

Watson, S. 2008. The Magic of the Marketplace: Sociality in a Neglected Public Space. Urban Studies 46(8), pp. 1577–1591.

Zukin, S. et al. 2009. New Retail Capital and Neighborhood Change: Boutiques and Gentrification in New York City.Community and City 8(1), pp. 47–64.


Create a website or blog at

Up ↑