The magic of the market place: Sociality in a neglected public space

Watson, Sophie (2009). The magic of the market place: Sociality in a neglected public space. Urban Studies, 46(8) pp. 1577–1591.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098009105506

Abstract

This study explores the potentiality of markets as public space where multiple forms of sociality are enacted. Research was conducted in eight UK markets. The research revealed that markets represented a significant public and social space for different groups in the locality as a site for vibrant social encounters, for social inclusion and the care of others, for `rubbing along' and for mediating differences. The article concludes by arguing that the social encounters and connections found in markets contradict pessimistic accounts of the decline of social association, offering a contrast to the shopping mall and providing the possibility for the inclusion of marginalised groups and for the co-mingling of differences where these are increasingly relegated to more private spheres

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