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Korunk 2009 December



Zsolt Demetrovics – Andrea Dúll

Environmental Psychological Ambiguities of Shopping Malls

Keywords: environmental psychology, shopping malls, security, control, freedom, solitude

In environmental psychological respects, the shopping mall as a place is not homogeneous. The idea of this article is that it would be rewarding to give up the tradition of treating the mall as a negative phenomenon. Several ambiguities of shopping malls are discussed, primarily from the viewpoint of environmental psychology. The authors propose that the mall phenomenon can be described along the lines of contrasting keywords, such as secure city, strictly controlled public place, regulated freedom, monitored home, transitory space, social solitude – favorite place, restorative overload, consumption: social entertainment and frustration.


Margaret Crawford

The World in a Shopping Mall

Keywords: shopping malls, “science of malling”, the “mix” of the mall, indirect commodification

Originally a contribution to Variations on a Theme Park (1992), the article has since been translated into several languages and included in various collections, as it offers a thorough criticism of what the author here sees as the paradigmatic architectural form of the present. She exposes “the science of malling”, the constantly changing, yet inflexible “mix” of the mall, the mechanisms of the buyers’ desires and the secrets to the malls’ commercial success, such as the process of indirect commodification, concluding with an alarming description of the ways in which different kinds of spaces are increasingly assimilated to the mall.


Mark Gottdiener

Recapturing the Center: A Semiotic Analysis of Shopping Malls

Keywords: semiotics, malls, deconcentration, public space, socialization, capitalism

Written by a leading urban sociologist, the essay uses the semiotic approach to investigate the phenomenon of the shopping mall, which, according to the author, can best be understood in the context of the process ha calls the “deconcentration” of the traditional city with its fixed, univocal center. The mall is viewed as an artificial and inferior substitute for this center as the place of social interaction to which people still long to, and yet, at the same time, as a privatized or instrumental public space with its own self-centered functions, rules and restrictions characteristic for the late capitalism of our time.


József Kurta

The Bookbinders’ Guild of Kolozsvár

Keywords: bookbinding, Kolozsvár, Kaiser Francis I, guilds, privileges

The Bookbinders’ Guild of Kolozsvár was established in 1809. Supposedly two reasons had been the cause of the bookbinders’ efforts to become independent. First, the decline of the prin-ting industry and book market in Kolozsvár, which brought about recession in bookbinding, and, as a con-sequence, the need for the regulation of authority and exclusion of bunglers from the market. Second, the decree of Kaiser Francis I, which standardized the establishment and regulation of guilds. This seemed an excellent opportunity for the Kolozsvár binders, whose newly established guild was endowed with special privileges. The regulation ratified by them reveals in great detail the parameters of the guilds’ inner life, its members’ duties and rights, and their pursuit of profession.


László Péter

The Negative Social Impact of Shop-ping Malls

Keywords: malls, conflictualistic theory of society, consumer culture, capitalism

The rapid growth of the retail sector in Romania has given rise to new forms of social problems. The negative impact of shopping malls on the urban landscape, the small business sector and the split labour market are becoming more and more obvious. Applying the conflictualistic perspective of critical theory, the author presents an insight into the mechanisms by which social disadvantages are reproduced in different forms of “McJobs”. The contradictions between consumer culture and the internal logic of the capitalist production system are also touched upon on the basis of local examples and qualitative data.


Dana Vais

Mall Culture

Keywords: architecture, America, Eastern Europe, “malling”, consumer society

Proceeding from the history of malls and their architectural types in America, the author surveys the Eastern/ Central European characteristics of shopping malls. After having presented the two generations of shopping malls in the U.S., marked by the names of Victor Gruen and Jon Jerde, she summarizes the European critiques directed against this current architectural form, which also brought about the “malling” of historical city centers. The purpose of these considerations is to shed light upon the Romanian variation of the shopping mall phenomenon. On basis of local examples, the author argues that the lengthy process of shopping mall development, which has begun in the 1950s and is still continuing in the U.S., has run its course in a concentrated form in our region. As a whole, the essay puts the problem of the specific kind of consumer society which is becoming visible in the background of Romanian shopping malls.



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