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The Shopping Mall as a Socio-Political Construct

Part 1 Dissertation 2014
Benjamin Thomas
University of the West of England Bristol UK
An investigation into how space is produced and defined by the conflict between its appropriation and domination.The study takes the transforming state of the city’s public space, with its shift towards private domains, to assess how this has changed the nature of its role within city’s socio-political structure. The 'shopping mall' is located at the centre of analysis, as a formal example of public space that is enclosed, privatised and managed according to its micro-condition.

The investigations main body addresses how a political apparatus acting within the shopping mall defines its socio-spatial practice. Identifying the ordering tools of segregation, security and control, the investigation highlights the resultant affects on society, also drawing on society’s unison with political goals in constructing space as a reflection of its own ideology. The study contests the supposedly civic designation of spaces within architectures that re-interpret the nature of public space and its democratic principles within an envelope.

The investigation marks the progress of the 'Les Halles' area in Paris - an area defined by shopping but witness to the activity of political polemic and social revolt within the city - as a case study. Hypothetical assumptions made within the study are supported by charting the nature of the architecture and its accompanying public domain, through each iterative formation and the socio-spatial practice in the production of its space.

Benjamin Thomas

David Littlefield
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