chapter  1
ByRob Shields
Pages 20

This is a many-voiced text which attempts to look beyond sites and the physical architecture of shopping malls and city-centre redevelopments. Our interest is the interface between media images, ‘consumption sites’ where such images can be purchased as ready-to-wear ‘masks’, and the personalities and tribes that form a social ‘architecture’ of lifestyles and ‘consumption cultures’. Following in the tracks of Walter Benjamin’s study of the shopping arcades of nineteenth-century Paris (1989), in these contemporary sites we find the implicated shadows of self, desire and consumption in amongst the goods on display and the crowds of people. Lifestyle Shopping is thus not intended as another celebration of the triumph of an ideology of lifestyles and marketing (Gardner and Sheppard, 1989) but a critical marking of the interdependence of the private spaces of subjectivity, media and commodity consumption, and the changing spatial contexts of everyday public life. This includes shopping malls which have developed as privately owned ‘public’ spaces for retailing, traditional public spaces such as markets, public buildings and monuments such as museums or heritage sites like Stonehenge, as well as the ephemeral ‘public’ space of the mass media.