An essay on shopping malls and the power struggles going on within them.
In this essay, I have given a critical analysis of Fiske's "Shopping for Pleasure", from
"Reading The Popular". In this analysis, I will be examining the main points in this chapter and discussing Fiske's explanation for including each one. I will also be examining counter arguments from other sources on his theories.
There are five distinctive sections within this chapter: 'malls, power and resistance', 'consuming women', commodities and women', 'conspicuous consumption', and 'progress and the new.' I intend to look at each section separately, finally connecting the whole chapter at the end of my analysis.
The first section from this chapter is titled 'Malls, Power and Resistance'. This section discusses shopping malls or "cathedrals of consumption" as described by the author, and the power struggle between the consumer and the distributor. As shown above, the author, in this section uses the metaphor of consumerism as a religion, the 'icons of worship' being the commodities.
This seems a reasonable metaphor, the consumers as a congregation and the manufacturers or distributors being the 'Authority on High', however the author dislikes this metaphor, preferring to swap it for a metaphor of warfare later on in this section, when describing the tricks used by consumers to baffle and display pseudo-power over the authority of the malls.
Basically, this section is describing the power of the capitalists by means of the shopping mall and the tactics of the consumer to counter this. The tactics including window shopping, using the mall as a place to hang-out (consuming space in the mall, rather than commodities), and generally exploiting the mall for the use of its controlled climate for example, walking in bad weather and letting young children play in the warm. However, as Fiske...